Actually, even with the view level of just over a million, Hannan might be overstating the case. That is about the daily level of readership for The Daily Telegraph and about a third of the readership of The Daily Mail.
It is also less than the hit rate that we achieved for our Qana reports in 2006, about which the British blogosphere was noticeably silent – and the media even more so. Thus, if the internet has changed politics "utterly and irretrievably", it did so some time ago – only Mr Hannan did not notice.
There is some mileage to be had from the fact it's a million people actively wanting to know what he said, as opposed to happening to see it on the telly or happening to read about it in their usual newspaper and receiving Hannan's message sullied by the influence of a journalist or editor.
I wouldn't say the internet has changed politics but the politicians themselves, and by effect the politics they perpetrate.(I appreciate that is probably too pedantic a distinction but I see politics as a symptom of the politicians more than the reverse.) They are massively more accessible if they wish to be
. Those MPs who are in possession of their own mind then have a ready outlet for it. The machinations of Government and Parliament are more accessible too, and are increasingly appearing to be detatched from people's expectations on competency, fairness and common sense. And they know it.
Politics will always be a mostly tribal, point scoring affair even on the internet. Some of that is stoked by the media and always has been. Anything less than total obedience to The Leader will often be painted as some kind of leadership challenge or chaos in the ranks. However, the internet has brought about the chance for politicians to earn or lose votes by their own words and deeds throughout the life of a Parliament, not just at an election, and to do so without the nannying Party machine if they wish. Hopefully it will lead to parties that are a collection of similar minded individuals rather than a Leader and their automoton army.
Representation of the people is no longer a largely one-way affair and MPs will have to adapt or die.