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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

In the Guardian

I was quite shocked this morning on turning to page six of the G2 section of the Guardian to see myself centre stage of a large photograph spread over two pages. The photograph illustrates a piece by John Harris on the Liberal Democrat leadership contest.

Although the caption claims that the photograph is of Simon Hughes addressing party members in Port Talbot, it is actually a press conference in Swansea. I am sitting at the top table with Simon and his National Agent, Swansea Liberal Democrat Chris Davies. Obviously, the sub-editor had problems distinguishing between population centres once he or she got over the Severn Bridge.

More interestingly (depending on your persepective) is this Guardian article on e-democracy. I was quite taken by the conclusion:

A new study, Political Blogs - Craze or Convention? published by the Hansard Society charity, says that blogs are a potent new force, but advises politicians not to get carried away. "Politicians, who are used to shouting through megaphones and broadcasting through microphones, will not find it easy to adjust to a communicative ecology where the stage belongs to everybody," it warns.

"The problem facing politicians who blog is that they are professionally implicated in the very culture that blogging seeks to transcend," says the report. "Blogging politicians are always going to be seen as a little bit like those old Communist apparatchiks who had to sit in the front row at rock concerts and pretend to swing to the beat."

I think that this is a cynical view of blogging politicians, many of whom are entirely comfortable with the medium, the technology and with other bloggers. Still, I can think of some who that caricature might fit.
The good thing about blogs is that, as long as you read them regularly rather than just dipping in looking for a choice quote, you can probably judge which sort it is.
In what way is that Hansard society report "new" - it's been sitting on my shelf for two years, mostly unread as it is deadly dull.
I didnt claim it was new James, the Guardian did. I quoted it largely because of the last few sentences.
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