Archive for the ‘The Political Weblog Movement’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at August 1, 2006

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

I pledged to write a letter to Jack Straw. Time to deliver.

To: Jack Straw
From: Tim Ireland
Re: Your comments of Thursday, 20 Jul 2006

Dear Jack,

It is my sad duty to inform you that you are a cretin.

People feel quite distanced and excluded from politics these days… and you yourself hold a great deal of responsibility for that – though your participation in certain farces may excuse you being sensitive to questions in general.

Here I would say something positive about what you could do to encourage engagement, but as the only viable option involves your immediate resignation, I’m pretty sure there’s no need for me to go into detail.

Then again…


Tim Ireland

PS – We still have to have an open and frank discussion about torture (i.e. not another whitewash).

Posted by Tim Ireland at July 24, 2006

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

For some reason the Independent is having a go at bloggers…

The fragrantly-hyphenated Janet Street-Porter kicked things off yesterday with this charming piece:

Janet Street-Porter – Editor-At-Large: Blog off… You don’t want to know what I weigh today (do you?)

The tastiest comments are hidden behind the subscription wall, but I dare to share:

“The web is fast becoming clogged with blogs; the verbal diarrhoea of the under-educated and banal.”

“Blogs are for anoraks who couldn’t get published any other way.”

And the day after Janet Street-Porter assured her readers that blogs contained inconsequential information published by inconsequential people, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown put her hyphen to work to put forward another case; that blogs contained dangerous information published by dangerous people… before dismissing the whole thing as a fad. Of the inconsequential variety, obviously…

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown – Hounded by assaults from cyberspace

Yasmin starts out by assuring us that “the internet has already become a coffee shop for paedophiles and violent fantasists,” and follows this wonderful guilt-by-association opener with this charming passage. From her back-passage…

“Where do blog writers and surfers find the time? When do they do the washing, cooking, eating, talking, cuddling, story reading to kids? Do they never help with school homework, go to the theatre, make love, read books, talk to friends, entertain?”

Well, there you have it. I hang out with paedophiles *and* I neglect my kids. Further, I have failed to fulfill certain cultural obligations, and have thus proven myself to be under-educated and banal.

I think I can be excused for thinking there’s something coordinated going on here.

Who exactly decided that our cages needed rattling? And why?

Posted by Tim Ireland at July 21, 2006

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

You’re all familiar with Jack Straw. Brave man. Not afraid to speak out or stand up for what’s right. Right?


Posted by Tim Ireland at July 20, 2006

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the interwebs… Simon Carr.

Posted by Tim Ireland at July 14, 2006

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Lynne Featherstone requests your input.

My view: Blogger’s new moderation features make this a much more attractive prospect for MPs and councillors, as there’s now a nifty spambot filter and you can also view comments before they are published on your site. This allows you to accept comments from people not registered with Blogger and keep the anonymous/witless party-political attacks at bay. (But if you’re just setting out or thinking of a change, you really want to aim for something better than Blogger; their support department is negligent beyond belief.)

Posted by Tim Ireland at June 26, 2006

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Tch. I prefer the term ‘freedom-fighting’ and they know it.


(Heads-up via Wibbler, who also brings to our attention a wonderful way to get shot.)

Posted by Tim Ireland at June 20, 2006

Category: The Political Weblog Movement – the ‘home of grass roots Labour opinion’ – is due to launch soon. The opening post that mistakenly credits me with building has been described by the creator as a ‘cunning marketing plan’.

(Don’t feel too bad, Alex; Last week I mistook Labour for Labour because I was scanning documents when I really should have been paying attention to what I was blogging.)

Posted by Tim Ireland at June 16, 2006

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Bit of a grab-bag today. I do apologise…

Pandora: When David Miliband became the first Cabinet minister to launch an online diary a few months back, he boldly declared that he intended to “bridge the gap between politicians and the public”. What Miliband failed to mention was just how much the “blog” would be costing the British taxpayer. According to research by the Liberal Democrats’ urbane front bencher, Chris Huhne, the amount is somewhere approaching 40,000 pounds a year. Huhne has come to this whopping figure after tabling a written question to the recently promoted Environment Secretary’s office earlier this month to ask what sort of manpower was involved in maintaining the site. He was told that two members of staff employed by Defra had recently dedicated as much as 40 per cent of their office time working on it. So far, claims Huhne, this also means the blog has cost around 1 pound a word to upkeep. “How can it cost 40,000 pounds a year of taxpayers’ money for staff to capture David Miliband’s hot air on climate change?” he says. Ever since the blog was launched to great fanfare back in March, it’s been heavily criticised. Some politicos complained that the content was too boring, while others claimed it was failing to attract intelligent debate on its message postings. A spokesman for Miliband said yesterday: “I don’t quite know how Chris Huhne worked out that figure. At the moment, we think it’s going to be a small percentage of one existing member of staff’s time.”

I think that’s more than a bit unfair… David Miliband may be a total moron (or a devious little bugger) for spending taxpayers’ money on the blog, thereby eliminating the possibility of any meaningful debate, but if we know the exercise is a total waste of money, does it really matter exactly how much money is being wasted?

No… wait… before you answer that, consider that David has made the shortlist for the New Statesman New Media Awards 2006. Surely that alone…? No? OK, let’s move on, then….

Backing Blair has made the shortlist for the New Statesman New Media Awards 2006. But PledgeBank deserves to win in the Advocacy category, and probably will.

Now, onto a true work of genius…

The Surrey branch of Conservative Future has a website that’s firmly stuck in the 20th century. Oh, and they appear to have a small problem with server security. If you’re quick, you’ll spot some special changes to the ‘About Us’ page. (Note – the use of this particular holding image could be intentional… but that would be even sadder still.)

Yes, that’s our Mike Chambers who appears on this website… but while Mike may be a gifted web designer, he doesn’t appear to have built this wonderful corner of the interwebs; this looks to be the work of Tom Stoddart and Ranil Jayawardena. How do I know that? View source.

Posted by Tim Ireland at June 9, 2006

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Oh, for fuck’s sake.

UPDATE (2:47) – Tch. For some reason they deleted this comment. Coincidentally, they have also just started reviewing comments before publishing them.

UPDATE (3:01) – Oh dear. Actually, it looks like comments have been disabled entirely.

UPDATE (3:07) – BBC – Campbell World Cup blog own goal?

UPDATE (3:15) – Game on! Comments are back, but mine don’t seem to be making it through. Funny, that.

UPDATE (3:39) – Awwwww…World Cup Blog faw down, go boom! In fact, the whole Labour website has ground to a near-halt. Probably a demand issue. They might be able to spin this as a success yet! (Oh, and one of the most recent entries labels every dissenting entry a ‘Tory comment’. How lovely it must be to live on Fantasy Island.)

UPDATE (4:25) – Tut. They just can’t help themselves, can they? Now they’ve deleted the very first comment I made, which looked like this:

UPDATE (5:09) – Hehehehehehe. OK, I’m done. Weekend starts here.

UPDATE (8:42) – OK, one more – but only because Alastair himself is at it now… attributing negative comments to the “forces of conservatism”… and having a stab at the BBC. He goes on to add:

Of course the Daily Mail are in on the act, their star reporters digging round trying to find out whether I’ve got tickets for England games (are those Paul Dacre muppets sad or what?) I haven’t by the way but any website visitors with a few spare can contact me through the press office.

Oh, I think can go one further than that. Anybody with ‘a few spare’ can contact him via the phone and fax numbers in these documents.

Cheers all.

Chicken Yoghurt – Campbell’s End?
Chicken Yoghurt – We’ve had our fun. Time to move on.

Posted by Tim Ireland at May 26, 2006

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

I’m really not sure how I’m going to approach the 2006 New Statesman New Media Awards.

I remain convinced that their decision non-decision last year (1, 2) was a deliberate snub (especially because they made a point of pressing Boris to attend when they knew they were not going to present an award in his category).

The matter remains largely unresolved as the editor John Kampfner and I abandoned our rather intense discussion on the matter when this happened.

But part of me knows that an ‘Advocacy’ award for Backing Blair will grease the wheels.

And, after the distinct anti-Tory vibe I got from at least one of their judges last year, another part of me wonders how they would react to the Anne Milton weblog being nominated under the ‘Advocacy’ category.

Still, I guess I’ll never know unless you take the time to nominate either, or both… or perhaps even Boris Johnson, who has been nominated again this year.

Cheers all.

(Head down. Arse up. Back to election return data.)

UPDATE – Personal/political issues aside, I also think that Guido warrants a nod for ‘Information’ (the individual or organisation that best uses new media technology to provide an alternative, informative voice enhancing democratic debate)… so I’ve backed that up with this nomination.

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