You won't care.The Political Weblog Project is a collaborative effort designed to encourage MPs, Councillors and other elected officials to communicate more effectively online via the intelligent use of weblogs. Elected officials who wish to take part in this scheme must follow these simple rules that exist primarily for your own benefit:

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June 14, 2004

Alan Milburn (Proxy Blog)

Labour MP for Darlington and Labour's 2005 General Election Co-ordinator

Proxy blog by: Mike

Launched: June 14, 2004

Format: (customised template)

Comments: Yes
Trackback: No
Syndication: No

This was one the first proxy-blogs created as part of the proxy blog project, and was an unusually brave attempt to get an MP blogging, given Milburn's status as an ultra-Blairite at a time when the government was under fire.

However, the author met with Alan Milburn and did manage to get Milburn's assitant Kath to give it a try and a few earnest entries followed.

Sadly, at about the same time, Milburn was named the 2005 General Election Co-ordinator, and - as the election loomed - it became clear that it just wasn't going to happen.

After Milburn's victory in that election, the blog was closed with the following statement:

As I said earlier, now that Alan Milburn has been re-elected as MP for Darlington, I will no longer be actively writing on this blog; it's original purpose was to try to convince Alan that a blog was the best way for him to engage with the people of Darlington. He either doesn't agree, or doesn't think this is important. To be fair, even with a slightly reduced majority, he's way ahead of the other parties in the polls, so why does he need to bother trying to convince us he's doing a good job for us?

It is worth noting that Milburn was aware of the potential of weblogs, if not the principles that make them a success. Tony Blair's election diary and 'Honest' John Prescott's Battlebus Diary - microsites created and run in a campaign under his control - completely missed the point and/or were filtered beyond all recognition.

One of the few bloggers who actually linked to these monstrosities was Neville Hobson, who had this to say: Looking sort of like a blog but without any of the the key attributes of one - no direct commenting, no trackbacks nor RSS feed - the (Blair diary) is indeed a diary with chronologically-ordered content. While that content is written in the first person, is it actually written by Tony Blair? While I can't imagine he'd have time to do this, I would guess he has direct input into the content which would likely be prepared and finalized by campaign staffers. The site's been up for a week and already there are plenty of posts which include answers to comments sent in by site visitors via an email form on the site. The style of the answers is very distinctive - informal, humorous and with personality, reflecting Tony Blair's open approach. It is almost like a blog! Unlike Blair's diary, Prescott's is firmly written in the third person with no indication that anything there is written by him, and with no comments.

Alan Milburn maintains a website at

Posted by timireland on June 14, 2004 7:28 PM in the category Blogs: Proxies


The Alan Milburn proxy blog is currently in the top three results for Alan Milburn in most of the main search engines, and in top place at MSN.

Posted by: Mike at August 22, 2005 2:37 PM

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