Whatever you make of LabourList as a direct response to this "big challenge", there is something impressive about the website's almost insane determination to test Alexander's theory to destruction. It was not enough, for example, that LabourList should set out to demonstrate, in its homely way, that a well-run campaign can engage online communities without any fashionable, Obama-style brains or la-di-dah Obama-style blarney. It would not merely prove that an "extraordinary individual", in the Obama-slot, came as optional. The website went further. It would replace that extraordinary individual with Derek Draper.
Bwaaaahahahaha! And there's more:
Of course, Mr Draper could quite plausibly retort that he is a good deal more serious about public engagement, what with his incessant interjections, than fellow democrat Ed Miliband, whose ambitious but sad little social networking site Labourspace ("Be the change!") has just begun to quantify the yawning public indifference to Labour's experiments in collaborative politics.
"We know we achieve more together than we do alone," wheedles Mr Miliband, inviting visitors to invent new campaigns, as if we'd forgotten about the Big Conversation or Downing Street's numberless online petitions. At the time of writing, a campaign called "renationalise the railways" is top of the Labourspace list, with 35 votes, followed by "save our bees" with 28.
Even Prescott gets a tongue-lashing:
Unless Gofourth, as at first seems more likely, is a cruel parody of the Obama campaigners' more demagogic tendencies, in which the lithe, brilliant, thoughtful, articulate, uxorious, preternaturally dignified individual at the centre of their massive online movement is replaced by a blustering, discredited exhumation from the British political past whose personal attributes are, in every case, the opposite.
Last week found Prescott complaining - "Cameron's plane daft" - that he'd had to attend a debate on Heathrow's third runway. It cannot have been intended, presumably, that even his most harmless post should read like an injunction to join the Conservatives, the Lib Dems, Plane Stupid, the schismatic Druids - anything but the party that once employed him as deputy prime minister.