Monday, October 11, 2004

sixteen hugs a day?

Talking with Andrew Brown, a Labour councillor, blogger and declarer-of-war-on-taggers, in my comments section a couple of weeks ago he made a serious observation about the limitations which can not be circumvented in the politician's blog:

"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 ... 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".

The latest politician to take up the challenge of providing an online diary is doing well so far, in my opinion. Sandra Gidley is the Liberal Democrat MP for Romsey in Hampshire and her blog is, though in its infancy, informative and accessible. And she writes:

"I would also add that I have no intention of making this a sort of cyper-pseuds corner. There is no point in producing a blog if it is not honest and open but politicians are wary beasts because we are all hostages to fortune and we don't want to give our opponents ammunition."

Fair enough, I suppose, if fighting talk; and she's lucid and free of bullshit elsewhere, too. On hearing Eleanor Laing, the Tory Spokesperson for women, claiming that women want "clean hospitals and that was a Conservative policy so if that was what women wanted then they were clearly Conservative voters!!!", she writes:

"Words fail me but it seems that Eleanor in her enthusiasm for this ground breaking policy was seemingly unaware that Lib Dems and Labour MPs are not exactly going round saying "we want more dirty hospitals and less cleanliness".

This is a classic case of all political parties actually wanting the same thing - why this is suddenly a differential policy is completely beyond me."

Read more at her Romsey Redhead blog...

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