Archive for the ‘The Political Weblog Movement’ Category

Posted by Tim Ireland at July 6, 2005

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

It was announced last night that no award would be granted in the Elected Representative category of the New Statesmen New Media Awards.

I’m angry, but also baffled… so I need to take the time to investigate a few things before going further.

One thing you might want to do in the meantime is take a look at the shortlist and see if you can work out just what the hell happened.

PS – Well done,

UPDATE – Here’s the reason they gave: This award goes to the elected representative who best uses new media technology to communicate with the electorate. This award is open to councillors, MEPs, MPs, MSPs and members of the Welsh Assembly. For the first time in the history of the New Statesman New Media Awards, the judges have decided not to award a winner in this category. After much discussion and thought, they agreed that none of the shortlisted nominations deserved the accolade. Some of the elected representatives have made massive efforts in creating an interesting online presence. But it was recognised that they have done so with little official help, and mostly by being in a fortunate enough position to draw upon the technical and communication skills required. The result is a postcode lottery for citizens who wish to discover and communicate with their elected representatives online. There have been some efforts to redress this balance: ReadMyDay and are just two examples. But there is still more that needs to be done. The judges believe that elected representatives need more support, training and advice to help them use this media more effectively. In doing so there is a real opportunity for the UK to lead the way in communication between the representative and the represented.

Posted by Tim Ireland at July 4, 2005

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Do pardon the belligerent tone of the headline. I’m in a mood.

Mark Pritchard’s Blog (or lack of it): So if Mark was Technical Manager for a company who are a leading UK provider of Domain Registration and Web Hosting Services you’d think he’d bother to use his own blog wouldn’t you?

Oh, gosh yes, especially when Discount Domains are so very aware of the potential of SEO.

You know I’ll flap my lips about this at the drop of a hat, so please do excuse me if I’m repeating myself here; blogging isn’t a technology thing, it’s a community/networking thing.

Mark Pritchard is almost certainly aware of the technology but, given his apparent attitude toward online communities in general, I don’t hold any great hopes for him using it properly. Or at all.

UPDATE – For those who need reminding, Pritchard is the MP with the empty blog featuring archive links that go back to the dawn of time.

Posted by Tim Ireland at June 29, 2005

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Harry is having a rough old time. He decided yesterday to propose a new regime of registration and banination, mainly because (in my view) he and his chums are having a hard time defending the indefensible.

Now, there’s nowt wrong with the concept of comment registration (used here to keep spam, trolls, anonymous abuse and straw-men at bay) but Harry’s justifications deserve a closer look.

First, take a look at the exchange that triggered Harry’s decision (all you need to read is the post and the first two comments, really).

Look at the shrill accusations cast toward anyone wanting to talk a little common sense. This pattern continues in Harry’s post on the proposed policy.

Yes, Hugo Chavez is my hero. And, as an opponent of the war on Iraq, it’s a given that I want to have Saddam Hussein’s babies. BTW, I had that nice George Galloway over by the house last week. We split a barrel of oil and made our plans for raising funds for a variety of terrorist groups. But not before I expressed my support for social justice by having unprotected anal sex with the pickled corpse of Joseph Stalin.

This is a common enough technique. You defend your extreme views by projecting a polar extreme on anyone who criticises them. These recent comments by Karl Rove are a prime example.

So, let’s get to the justifications. What are they? Well, Harry keeps talking about “reasonable level of debate”, and what not:

Harry: “I’d like to create a space for debate among people who are interested in lively discussion not slanging matches.”

Hmmm, if you’ll pardon a small but necessary detour…

I don’t know about you, but when an issue I take an interest in crops up, I usually comment on it on my own blog, then keep an eye on comments, Trackbacks, Technorati and tracking stats to see who else is talking about it. I might even pop over to other places where the issue is being discussed and have a word or two there as well.

And that’s just what Robin from Perfect has done.

The response from Harry (Mr Reasonable Level of Debate) has been to:

1) Accuse Robin of cyberstalking
2) Accuse Robin of trackback spamming (a quick look here will – for now – show 3 trackbacks from a single post at the Observer weblog within the space of 7 minutes – which suggests to me that the fault lies with Harry’s back-end accepting multiple pings following each update/correction from posts that reference his site)
3) Accuse Robin of being a coward
4) Mock Robin for not receiving enough comments himself

That was pretty much the limit for me. I spoke up.

My reward was to be called a Tory glory-hound.

Now, is it just me, or does this walk, talk, and smell like personal abuse? Am I wrong to point out that several people highlighting what’s false about Harry’s claims that he desires open and civil debate have been rewarded by Harry throwing mud in their direction?

Over at the aforementioned Observer post, d-squared (who has been banned from Harry’s at least once on the grounds of undertaking “a personal attack”) had this to say, and pretty much nails it in my view:

But somehow, I’ve been banned on four separate occasions, whereas people who post nothing but abuse, SWP talking points or, to be frank, outright Islam-hatred, don’t appear to ever have been banned at all. As far as I can tell, the power of the ban has been used nearly exclusively at Harry’s Place to get rid of people who were dangerously close to winning arguments against the hosts (cf: the “International Law Wars”), while leaving enough morons present to allow the impression to remain that Harry, Marcus and the “Decent Left” were taking on all comers and emerging triumphant. That’s the exact policy of Charles Whatshisface at Little Green Footballs, who also allows outright hate speech to remain while deleting civil disagreement with the prevailing rather extremist line. It’s why I coined the nickname “Little Green Soccer Balls” for your blog, and why it stuck.

Agreed. Very fitting…

Little Green Soccer Balls

Harry doesn’t want to protect and maintain an open and honest debate. He wants to shape something that *appears* to be an open and honest debate into a validation/confirmation of his own personal views.

Hey, it’s his blog. He can do what he likes on it, and that’s his right.

But if he’s going to use his blog to create a false impression for the unwitting casual reader, it’s my right – and yours – to call him on it.

Posted by Tim Ireland at June 16, 2005

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

The proxy-blog for Mark Pritchard is go. I know that I missed out on a few of these over the last 12 weeks, so if you’ve launched one recently and I haven’t plugged it yet, feel free to speak up now.

Posted by Tim Ireland at June 15, 2005

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Guess which MP’s website made the shortlist for the New Statesman New Media Awards 2005.

Posted by Tim Ireland at June 6, 2005

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

BigDaddyMerk wishes to bring to your attention the weblog of Mark Pritchard MP, which appears to have been running since the dawn of time.

Posted by Tim Ireland at June 6, 2005

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Today the Hansard Society has released a report Parliament’s failure to communicate with the electorate.

What I’d like you to do today is to take a link to this post and forward it to your local MP with a short and polite email:

Dear MP-type person. You need to seriously consider the possibility of engaging with your constituents and the public in general via a weblog. (Click here to read more about his.)

You may in the past have thought of a weblog as a form of vanity publishing or even a personal public diary, but in reality it is a powerful networking tool. The value lies not in the technology, but in fully realising the concept of two-way communication as opposed to one-way broadcast. Think of it as a large, ongoing public meeting.

And, unlike your typical surgery, this interaction with the public will not always involve people who are unhappy with you or matters that may or may not be under your control. It will mostly involve the slow and steady building of a network of people willing to support you and help you.

But the technology alone cannot do this. What is most important is the concept of transparent engagement.

No, it’s not for all MPs. It’s an especially unhelpful approach for someone like Geoff Hoon who – happily – is charged with addressing the problems raised in Hansard’s report.

But I would argue that an MP who is unable or unwilling to engage in this way is not fit for office in the first place.

Do you have something positive and important to say? Would you like that to endure in a way that automatically draws like-minded people to your side? Would you like to end your dependence on local and national media?

Then get in touch, and I’ll show you how it works.


Tim Ireland
manic AT bloggerheads DOT com

UPDATE – Guardian – So, you want the public to show parliament more respect? An open letter to Geoff Hoon

Posted by Tim Ireland at May 29, 2005

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

Well done, Tom.

Posted by Tim Ireland at May 20, 2005

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

This one’s for Kate Hoey. I hope to be online a bit more from Monday onwards. Cheers all.

PS – If you need something to keep you busy…

Posted by Tim Ireland at May 19, 2005

Category: The Political Weblog Movement

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