Blogging politicians

Awake to Steve Richards interviewing Alex (Recess Monkey – Labour) and Iain Dale (blogging Conservative).

The traditional media has decided that blogs are the big news and it would seem that these days bloggers lead the field and the media follow our agenda. Of course Alex and Iain both write really great blogs and their audiences are huge.

They are more overtly political and somewhat different to the blog I keep. They are really political commentators, and whilst national politics certainly features in my blog I also try to use it to communicate with my constituents. Having a distinctive geographically based constituency makes a difference – though I don’t worry too much about this. I much prefer writing what I want to say – and not thinking too closely about what different people might want to read. If they like what I write – good; if not – sorry, I’m going to write my own stuff anyway!

Although the hits I get are pretty huge these days – particularly when there is something going on that people want to come and have a look at – I’m sure Iain certainly is in a different league.

They both also allow comments on their blogs. I have always been sceptical about the benefits of allowing comments on this blog as people can engage with me in many other ways (such as by email), and for the comments to really work you need to take part and engage with each item and its comments. There is no way for me to do that with my work schedule – much as I would love to.

And as I write my blog myself (otherwise there would be no point) and I want to keep it personal, I don’t think comments are essential. Reading this blog gets you my direct, personal views. There are plenty of other places for political discussion, including some I occasionally take part in – such as Liberal Review who kicked off an interesting discussion around some thoughts of mine on knife crime.

I also notice that the Sunday Observer has a big article on blogging. I get a mention as having been a trail blazer for blogging politicians. Alex asked me if I would Chair an All-Party Group on this kind of stuff – but I just don’t think I can take on more commitments at the moment as I tend to be cursedly diligent!