The rather one-way spat between Guido Fawkes and David Miliband continues, this time in the pages of Iain Dale‘s new Guide to Political Blogging in the UK (PDF). Published just in time for conference season, Dale’s 32-page guide lists the top 100 Labour, Tory and LibDem blogs, plus the top 100 ‘non-aligned’ blogs. It also features contributions from some of the UK A-List.
Miliband – writing, let’s remember, from the office of a Cabinet Minister – describes how blogging lets him ‘break out of the usual parameters of politics’. It’s nothing you haven’t heard before, to be honest… but it’s useful to keep handy for quoting purposes:
Through the Internet we can reach more people directly and faster than ever before. We (need) refreshing ways to find out what people think of the department and what we are trying to achieve. I can open up a conversation with people from around the world who are interested in my work. We share ideas and learn from each other. … Politics and government are changing in a fundamental way. We have to become more transparent and open. I believe that the internet, and interactive tools like blogs, are ways of achieving this.
Fawkes, sadly, uses his dedicated page to bash Miliband’s efforts. Only to be expected, I suppose, if you’ve ever read his blog… and arguably, it perfectly demonstrates the fundamental Fawkes negativity.
The blogger who breaks all the rules is David Miliband, the blogging minister. Last month he blogged on only five days. He doesn’t connect with readers, he writes in the aloof jargon rich language of a true policy wonk. His blog is about as politically honest as Pravda in the days of Stalin. His blog is more about bridging the gap with people who agree with him. Worst of all, he hands down his wisdom in a self congratulatory tone. He is a master class in how not to blog.
I wholeheartedly disagree. Miliband deserves significant respect for trying to do this from a Ministerial office. Believe me, I’ve worked more than a decade in central government communication. Miliband has worked wonders to get the blog up there in the first place; for most ministries, any kind of two-way dialogue is a genuine culture shock.
Iain Dale, incidentally, deserves a lot of credit for this work. I’m not sure what value the ‘top 100’ lists actually constitute: being realistic, once you get past the upper echelons, you’re into very small fry. But look down the listings, and you’re bound to spot somebody on your personal radar who you didn’t know was a blogger.