Monday, August 11, 2008

Inconsequential blogging

This post is a social bookmark more than anything else. It's to point to two more items on the question:

"Should politicians blog?"

Mick linked to Italo Calvino's unfinished six memos with a brief comment here a while ago. (BTW, do read that article about Calvino - it's worth it).

And a Lib Dem WAM, Peter Black, (his own site proclaims that his is 'The longest running blog by an elected Liberal Democrat politician') has a good evangelistic article here.

This line is particularly striking (referring to an old article about blogging WAMs):

"....in total 12 AMs keep a blog, the other 48 are fairly sceptical about the concept. Alas in the seventeen months since the article was written the dozen has dwindled to six, whilst I am aware of only four Welsh MPs who blog and one of those has not posted for nearly a year. What Ciaran's article reveals is an anti-blogging trend amongst some politicians, who view the medium with suspicion and would rather it went away:"

I'm not sure that I'd agree with his conclusion there. I'm with Mick on his 'not all of them should do it' line as it happens - as I said here a while ago (summary; there are some politicians that have the inner blogger, but it's not an essential - or even always a good - trait for an elected representative). Perhaps Peter's colleagues are simply behaving rationally?

It is one area where a lot of politicians would be well advised to cast themselves in the role of a jurist. Watch and listen intently, then go and reach their own conclusions. After all, politicians have to answer for the consequences in the long run - long after a feud in a comments thread is forgotten.

It adds a dimension to the word 'inconsequential'. Blogging - as a way of presenting arguments or deliberating on them - is quite literally inconsequential (or inconsequential in any direct way).

The parliamentary process is very different. For one thing, it isn't inconsequential. I suspect that a lot of us would like to write a post, and defend it in our comments thread so perfectly that a Prime Minister would one day swing by and say...
"I believe that I can speak for a majority in Parliament in saying that the conclusions drawn in this post are so perfect that they can be cut-and-pasted directly into the statute book without any further amendment."

But - let's face it. It's never going to happen, is it?

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