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September 25, 2004

Sandra Gidley

Liberal Democrat MP for Romsey

Launched: September 25, 2004

Format: (standard template run externally to her main website)

Comments: Yes
Trackback: Yes
Syndication: No

Sandra's blog is a success-story for the proxy-blogging project.

In reaction to approaches from the authors and interested parties, and after seeing her proxy blog (Gidley Watch) and other blogs in action, Sandra Gidley launched a blog of her own.

This blog is currently running at, but there are plans to integrate the blog content into her official website sometime in the future.

Her reward for allowing two-way communication was to be attacked in comments not by members of the public, but party activists posing as members of the public. My comments on this abuse of her trust and the rights of ordinary members of the public can be read here.

These attacks began following an attempt by Tory candidate Caroline Nokes to undermine Sandra with many snarky remarks on her own weblog.

Nokes had a blog at that launched in January 2004, but it had begun to gather dust... until Sandra's new blog came along. GidleyWatch has a full outline of what followed here, but the short version of events is that Caroline made a snide, misleading statement on her weblog and Sandra called her on it in this post on her own weblog.

Caroline's reaction was to scream "Personal attack!" and take her weblog down, claiming that she did so to stop Sandra from making "malicious" remarks about her.

Several 'independent' individuals then started making comments on Sandra's site, blaming her for content on GidleyWatch (a site she does not control) and also insisting that Sandra "do the decent thing" and delete her blog as well; "that way, there will be a much fairer contest not based on personalities."

Pffft! I'm sorry, but that last bit always makes me laugh.

Sometime after this, Sandra switched to Haloscan comments in order to minimise abuse of the system.

The comments system does not make for easy moderation, as I have recently found over at the Anne Milton blog after... attacks by party activists posing as members of the public. Who also like to scream "Personal attack!" when things don't go their way.

This in particular is a pattern of behaviour that has to be stamped on... hard.

I've heard from a number of MPs who fear that allowing comments on their site will lead to abuse by the public... but in reality, it's mostly members of the party-political establishment who abuse the system. Some of these tosspots even use facilities and time paid for by the taxpayer to threaten the existing and potential ability of voters to communicate openly with their representatives... and then bleat about their right to free speech when their witless, anonymous comments are deleted.

A message on Sandra's site now reads: Comments are welcome on this blog unless they are unpleasant or comments on third parties. In other words "No bitchin!"

Note - Sandra Gidley was first female MP to run a fully-functional weblog.

Posted by timireland on September 25, 2004 11:51 AM in the category Blogs: MPs (Liberal Democrat)


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