I may have only just joined the Labour Party, but already I’m ranked seventy-fourth by ‘the UK’s leading political blogger’ (as one who proudly displays the rather dubious Blog Top Sites ranking at the top of each page and once bragged of being the most popular blog in the North West (fourth in the UK), I’m in no position to challenge this).
Seventy-fourth is the decision of one man jury Iain Dale who has so much time on his hands he’s scored hundreds of blogs by design, frequency of posting, humour, popularity, writing, personality, comment, independence of thought, range and interaction. I’m quite chuffed. (I imagine it’s the subtle changes I’ve made to the design of my Blogger template wot won it.)
More seriously, it does illustrate something lacking in Labour supporting blogs: there is much to admire in Conservative Home and much to deride in Labour’s Let’s talk ‘blog’ (a webpage with comments that perhaps wishes it was a Wiki). The Conservatives have, to their credit, taken blogging much more seriously than Labour. Conservative Home has access to high places. Tory chair, Francis Maude, endorses Iain Dale’s efforts, but expresses uncertainty as to why Conservatives are out performing the left.
I think the answer to that is that blogging feels subversive and subversion is for opposition. But that doesn’t change the fact the Labour needs to catch up.
It’s not for a new member like me to come in and tell anyone what to do and there are some very clever and able Labour bloggers about. But I do feel we need to discuss the creation of some sort of commission to come forward with proposals for formalising the party’s relationship with blogs; to define the rules of engagement. Should Labour, like the Tories, occasionally provide news and other information to select blogs, before or in addition to that provided to the mainstream media? More importantly, how can Labour encourage and enable supporters to blog?