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Sunday, September 24, 2006

Labour and the art of blogging

It is well known amongst bloggers that Labour Central Office do not really get blogging. They are wary because they cannot control it and because it might encourage public dissent amongst the ranks. In this regard they seem to have a bigger problem with their MPs than anything that is happening on-line.

These reservations are of course, shared by spin-doctors in all political parties and frankly, it is hard cheese. They will have to live with it. Iain Dale expands on this issue in today's Observer:

Blogs are a spin doctor's worst nightmare come true - and then some. It would be understandable if political parties regarded them as uncontrolled, uncontrollable and sometimes downright troublesome. But if they did, they would be missing a huge opportunity to market their message without the filter of mainstream media reportage and comment. The political party that can harness blogs to its cause is the one that will win the internet campaigning war.


The trouble is, most politicians see all the dangerous downsides of blogging but rarely the benefits. There are some notable exceptions, such as LibDem MP Lynne Featherstone, Labour's Tom Watson and Tory Ed Vaizey, but they are three of only about a dozen.

You have to register to read the article in full.

Michael Meacher's new blog is guaranteed to send the Labour spin merchants into a tail spin by affirming all their prejudices. He does not pull his punches. In fact, he seems to go out of his way to give the backroom boys at his party's HQ severe indigestion:

I have just heard, from what I regard as an unimpeachable source that Gordon Brown has told junior ministers that if they do not vote for him in the forthcoming leadership contest, they’ll be out.


It’s all very well for Tony Blair at this stage, within sight of his departure, suddenly breaking the habit of a lifetime and announcing a consensual, inclusive review of the whole range of party policy before he goes

But it’s a bit rich to have a conversion to this new style of policy making at the end when for 12 years we have had policy settled exclusively in Labour HQ or No. 10 and election manifestos handed down from on high without so much as a flicker of Party consultation. Still, there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth …


Good to hear that Tony Blair is now saying the leadership, in all this ruckus, should be thinking about the Party and the public. So that means, I take it, an early leadership election so as not to scupper Labour's chances in the Scottish, Welsh and local elections. It means the inovative idea, does it, of actually discussing what the direction of policy should be under the new government?- not shutting down all debate on policy before it's even begun, as Gordon Brown wants, leaving him (he hopes) with a free hand. And it means, I assume, having candidates representing all the main wings of the Party, not just the Brownite Right and the Blairite far Right, but the Centre-Left, which has been disenfranchised for a decade or more.

And so on. It is enough to get opposition politicians purring with pleasure.
Amazing is'nt it, for just a few Faustian years in power, the labour party has lost all credibility within itself, not to mention the nation.

Tony Blair has done more for the Liberals than any of its own members in recent times.

Still, Dave is sensibly very quiet
at the moment.
I agree with you about why Labour won't blog, it has to have control over comments and only wants to hear what it likes. Funnily enough, I had a look at Michael Meacher's blog today, it's worth keeping an eye on, he's a bit of a loose canon at the moment like Charles Clarke, a man with a grudge against Blair.
The Labour party today launched a personalised website for every member (www.labour.org.uk/”membername”), which includes the facility to create a blog.

So much for Labour not “getting” blogs eh Peter!
So all the Labour blogs are identikit sites under central control? Yes, I can see that they have 'got blogging'!
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