Tuesday, September 21, 2004

he waved his hands and rolled his eyes

A while ago I compiled a short list of blogging politicians on my del.icio.us feed, and noticed in the process that - one councillor aside - the conservative party, usually so willing to embrace new ideas, had not yet contributed a blogging MP to the pot. Now, thinking about it, there was only ever going to be one Tory likely to throw his hat in the ring first, and, now, he has. So Boris Johnson can finally join my list. Apart from the fact that his constituents must surely be concerned that he already spends most of his time writing for the Spectator and The Torygraph and has even found time away from the set of Have I Got News For You, sorry, the House of Commons, to write a novel, this must be a Good Thing. It remains to be seen, of course, whether his eloquence and frankness will mean he writes with candour or hesitancy.

My list of Blogging politicians (now a bit out of date*).

The Boris Blog.


* postscript: the list should now be up to date; thanks to this excellent summing-up by Robin Grant over at perfect.co.uk...

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

How come I don't make your list? Not complaining, after all there I am in the side bar, but I'm politician, I blog, and I like some of your songs.

All the best,

Andrew
www.20six.co.uk/Cllr_Andrew_Brown

jonathan said...

Agh, the problem with making a foolish claim like 'the list is now up to date' is that you leave yourself immediately open to criticism as a shoddy compiler. You're quite right, Andrew, I'd left you off the list: I am sorry. Not quite sure how, seeing as I've been reading your blog for ages.

You are now instated, at the top of the list, no less!

Anonymous said...

The question is, do any of those people on your list of bloggers actually write openly and candidly? I bet they dont. Perhaps Andrew can tell us whether such a thing would be tolerated by a modern party or not?

-SB-

BB said...

Why would a politician go to the trouble of writing blog entries most days if it was just to toe the party line? It's too cynical to think that "the party" is so powerful it can totally control the lives of its MPs.

If you want to hear the party line, watch them on the TV news, but if you want to hear something less controlled and more thoughtful, read their blog. That's my experience anyway.

jonathan said...

Hmm, well I think you're right up to a point, but I think it's important to remember that most of us blog with a cheerful sense of our own anonymity, which a politician can't do. So we can write about ourselves without fear of rebuke or challenge, something few politicians can do fully. Equally, their blogging is, in some way at least, part of their job. I think only a few politicians blog because they love the medium.

Also, it sounds like Jody Dunn is getting a lot of flak for being candid on her blog. If it was wider read the ramifications could easily get out of hand. So I think politicians are understandably cautious, and keen, yes, not to stray too far from the party line.

Anonymous said...

"It's too cynical to think that "the party" is so powerful it can totally control the lives of its MPs."

Rubbish! Any politician from councillor upwards with any ambition of higher office knows full well that he is being watched and if he or she wants to get ahead he has to be a party apologist. Just watch newsnight and youll see that up-and-coming labour politicians will say anything to get that bastard Blair off the hook, and we all know why. cos they want a job.

BB said...

But your point was about whether we can trust their blogs to be honest and candid. Almost certainly the people you have in mind don't have blogs. Should we then cast aspersions on those MPs who do, are perhaps more experienced, and aren't totally motivated by ambition? Why not just read a few of their blogs and make up your own mind? I generally find them to be pretty straight-up.

Just in passing, I really don't buy the whole "all politicians are out for themselves" line. I always think it's lazy and apathetic when people come out with that stuff, yet have never actually got involved on an issue in their life. There are plenty of good politicians and plenty who aren't, just like in every other walk of life.

Just my 2 euro cents :-)

Anonymous said...

Do I blog as me, or am I wickedly controlled by someone in Old Queen Street? Hummm, good question.

I didn't ask permission of anyone to start my blog, and have never checked anything I've written with anyone inside the Labour Party.

But, Jonathan's right I'm accountable for what I say and how it might affect my colleagues. So, for example, local journalists read and sometimes take stories from my site, which is unnerving, and so what I say there may not stay with my small readership. Also I’m bound in part by my sense of loyalty to my party and a sense of collective responsibility for the decisions that we make as a Labour Group.

Nevertheless, I'll never post anything I don't believe to be true, am happy to have comments that disagree with me, and sometimes change my mind.

It is me, well kind of, but only part of me.

Andrew
www.20six.co.uk/Cllr_Andrew_Brown