The rise and disappearance of Civil Serf

It was going to happen eventually. I think was the first to highlight Civil Serf’s excellent blog, back in late January. She started to hit the big-hitting political blogs a few weeks later – see Dizzy Thinks, the Telegraph’s Three Line Whip, The Times’s Comment Central. But it’s only when she hits the proper media, namely this morning’s Sunday Times and Telegraph, that it becomes a big deal. Big enough, it seems, to wipe the blog from the face of the web. (Wish I’d archived it for onepolitics now.)
First off, there’s a lesson here about the relative importance of blogs in general, and the papers’ own blogging efforts in particular. If the Times and Tele were that fussed about it all, they sat on its existence for a remarkably long time. That’s assuming one desk in the newsroom is talking to another – one suspects not, on this evidence.
It’s really depressing that the blog has been deleted so quickly. I don’t recall anything especially sensitive being disclosed – she never said enough to really confirm which department she worked in, even. (For the record, some of us reached a different conclusion to the Times.)
The only controversy, and that’s already stretching the definition, was the fact that a civil servant dared to ‘tell it like it is’, and very eloquently too. It was provocative, but having been in a very similar position myself, I can say it was absolutely valid. Frankly, I think we’d be better off if there was a bit more of that.
I have a nasty feeling this has set back the cause of ‘government 2.0’ by a good few months – just as it seemed the word ‘blog’ had shaken off its most negative connotations. It’ll be interesting to see if Tom Watson makes reference to it in his big speech tomorrow.

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