Some thoughts on blogging

With the No 10 smear machine exposed by Guido, it was inevitable that this would thrust blogging itself under the media spotlight.

To many people, blogging is a bit like Twitter – or any new social networking and communication tool that can sweep the internet for a few months and then die a natural death. But whereas Twitter has been running a mere 3 years, blogging has a much longer history of 12 years making it better established and far more developed.

Creating a blog has never been simpler – no need for messy HTML (although it helps if you know a few tags so you can use the tools better) because templates and visual editors are provided if you go with Blogger, WordPress and the like, then almost any spec computer, internet access and your own writing ability are all you need – indeed, anyone can get a blog up and running in a matter of minutes and without any financial outlay if they have the equipment and access already.

Inevitably, given the human desire to leave one’s mark and their ease of creation, there are now millions of blogs covering every conceivable subject from every conceivable viewpoint.

Some blogs have become so widely-read that they’ve become accepted as part of the general media – along with TV, radio and newspapers or the MSM (MainStream Media) as these are known.

However, blogs have a great advantage over the MSM:

  • They’re immediate – no need to prepare a studio or get the presses rolling – you write, you upload and there’s your blog entry published for anyone to read (unless it’s moderated and not published)
  • They allow comment to be made easily – no readers letters or interviews with Joe Public to collate – you read, you comment, you upload and there’s your response
  • The content doesn’t rely on fitting into a certain agenda – the blogger is his or her own owner, publisher, editor and salesman – you can publish want you want

Of course, it’s inevitable with such ease of use and sheer number of blogs that there’s going to be a huge variation in blog quality but in my experience you start to patronise a certain type of blog that satisfies your individual requirements as a reader after you’ve sifted through them for a few weeks.

Equally inevitable is the threat that blogging poses to the MSM’s monopoly and the MSM’s response to this. So, we now have the MSM publishing its own blogs and inviting comment, although this is sometimes heavily moderated – unlike many independent blogs.

Like everything though, there’s a price to pay with virtually unfettered free speech and that is that sometimes someone writes something you don’t like in a manner which might offend you and expressing views with which you vehemently disagree.

Tough shit.

For the first time in human history anyone can say anything they like to a global audience and everyone has the right to reply. People in the MSM, and the political world it feeds off,  gnashing their teeth and wailing about declining standards in the expression of opinion  have realised this and after having it their own way for literally hundreds of years are now finding not only thousands of new competitors but also effective competitors.

To use a military analogy, a battle force with infantry, supporting vehicles and air cover can be very effective, but sometimes the lone sniper or a few resistance fighters can create a great deal of mayhem and sometimes influence the outcome of a conflict out of all proportion to their number. It might not conform to some lofty military principle but if it gets the job done – the supply train blown up or the enemy general picked off through your crosshairs – then why not hide in the bushes and wait for your opportunity?

This blog entry was inspired by the recent exposure of the smear campaign at No 10 mentioned at the beginning and also this in which the author makes such fatuous comments and draws such facile conclusions that it’s hard to know where to start.

I’m going to cut to the chase and just say that the sleaze he sees as a threat to the Labour party has only been outed through the efforts of those with whom he disagrees. He argues that blogging feeds off sleaze and that in order to perpetuate itself blogging will keep digging for sleaze.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t like sleaze and if it’s there I want it to come out into the open so those who conduct themselves sleazily will be named, shamed and brought to task in some way – after all, I’m probably paying their fucking wages to some degree or another.

And what does Sunny Hundal want?

Only Labour bloggers to expose Labour sleaze?

Oh, like that’s going to work.

And whose fault is it if Labour bloggers aren’t as good at digging out the sleaze as more right-wing ones?

Well, Labour if you look at people like Derek Draper and forums like LabourList.

In fact, they’re so bloody bad at it that they had to invent some sleaze of their own…

Well, people can piss and moan as much as they like – blogging is here to stay. Fact.

My only wish is that if the Tories get into power in the next General Election then bloggers will remain as sceptical and determined to root out corruption as they currently are.

That’s when we’ll know for sure whether the future of blogging can include integrity and principle alongside opinion and intellect.

Don’t have your say

OK, it’s infested with cockends of all types and it’s moderated to buggery, but the ‘Have Your Say’ section of the BBC News site usually covers news stories ‘du jour’.

However, it seems that the powers that be don’t seem to think the McBride/Draper smear campaign story is worth covering there.

What are they afraid of?

Our politicians should be scared of us

Now that the initial euphoria regarding the McBride/Draper smear campaign seems to be evaporating, it’s perhaps time to look at the main protagonists, what state they’re in and what should happen next.

Well, Damian McBride has gone – not sacked but forced to resign. That’s a mistake right there and a good example of poor damage limitation on behalf of whoever is running things at No 10 – and you have to wonder about that. In business if I wanted to get a clear message across to the public – as well as my employees – that someone working for me had fucked up big time, then, whether my motivations were sincere or not, I’d sack them, tell them to clear their desk and not bother asking for another job with me. Obviously this wasn’t done and shows weakness.

Derek ‘Dolly’ Draper has gone ‘on holiday’ – I’d guess after booking with LastMinute.com – and seems to be facing an uncertain future. He’s come out of this looking a right twat and I can’t see that the Nu Labour leadership or apparatchiks are going to want him back. It’s not as if he was ever anything but a liability and champagne socialists aren’t exactly good purveyors of PR in these difficult economic times.

I think it’s too early to speculate about anyone else who was directly involved in the smear campaign. Yes, emails seem to have been copied to various people but there’s a wall of denial and silence there. Perhaps Guido has something else up his sleeve? We’ll have to wait and see. It may be that Gordon Brown will yet seek to take punitive measures further up the food chain but now is not the time for action it would seem.

That brings us very nicely to Gordon Brown. He’s in a bit of a cleft stick in all of this – damned if he apologises and damned if he doesn’t. At the moment the official line is that duty has been done with the ‘firing’ of McBride and that as no-one else is responsible then no-one part from McBride needs to apologise. Health Secretary Alan Johnson has been wheeled out in an attempt to take some of the heat off Brown to state that

“Gordon Brown had nothing to do with this. You apologise for the things you are responsible for.”

I’m not sure this does Brown any favours at all. Not accepting direct responsibility makes you appear as if you exerted no control over your staff, whilst accepting responsibility makes you sound as if you were complicit in the smear campaign.

Those words will come back and haunt our PM for months to come.

So, that’s the cleft stick that Brown is in.

Johnson also says that he personally feels “some shame” over the smear tactics that McBride and Draper were going to use, which sounds unapologetic to say the least.

David Cameron has demanded an apology and provided the cleft stick that Brown is in and seems to be on a winner with the public watching fascinated as people in high places wriggle and writhe and just look more ineffectual and evasive as time goes by. He can afford to wait and savour this gift that fell into his lap.

The part of Paul Staines aka Guido in all of this cannot be undervalued or underplayed. Personally, whether he did it for pleasure or profit I don’t care. Whether he’s right-wing or left-wing, I don’t care. Whatever his politics or motivation he’s exposed a depth of corruption within the walls of No 10 that has little precedent and has no place in a fair and just political system that is part of a modern democracy. I hope he keeps digging and that all the ‘guilty’ are named and shamed.

As I’ve gone to some pains to make clear, this blog is neither right nor left-wing.

All I know is that, under Labour, this country has become a place where civil liberties, personal freedom and choice and respect for those who earn the money that this government recklessly spends and the politicians of all parties grab for themselves are being eroded rapidly, stealthily and cynically.

I’m also not so naive as to believe that this is just about the dangers of the Left. I believe that we should be cautious of the actions and words of all politicians of any party and that they should bear in mind that they are elected to serve us – not the other way round.

If any lesson is to be learned from all this is that unless we’re careful with how much power we allow our goverment to have, then any government will seek to seize more power and use it to control its people.

In short, I want our politicians to be scared of us.

Draper and McBride spotted (2)

Don’t believe what you read in the MSM…Draper is not in the Canary Islands and neither is McBride in the UK.

Here they are being filmed secretly somewhere in Los Angeles…

Clockwise from Rear Left: McBride, Draper, The Ginster family – Carl Jr, Lou-Ann, Carl Sr

Alistair Campbell makes a joke

Ageing pitbull Alistair Campbell is an unlikely source of intentional humour but this had me chuckling…

I barely know Mr McBride. I was vaguely aware of him being around the Treasury when I was in Number 10, and vaguely aware that he was closer to the Charlie Whelan school of strategic communications than my own. (I’m aware we tend to get lumped together in some sections, but I know the differences, even if they don’t.)

Learn some humility…

you bastard.

If we dont hear from this total wanker for 50 years, it’ll be 50 years too soon.

McSnide resigns

‘Hello? Is that the Job Centre?’

One less twat to worry about.

Draper and McBride spotted!

Photo taken in Dubai a couple of hours ago:

burqa

Keep on digging, Dolly

Lying sack of shit

Straight from the horse’s arse mouth…

What really made me laugh out loud was this bit:

Imagine if all your emails suddenly became available to people wanting to damage you.

Why, not even one week ago a new law was introduced to ensure that the government can legally do that very thing.

Luckily as Draper doesn’t seem to have heard the old adage, ‘When you’re in a hole stop digging’, I think we’re in for some real fun over the coming weeks.

What a twat.

What a terrible week!

Ouch – me Chalfonts!

But not for me…s’been OK, ta.

I don’t think that Gordon Brown can say the same though:

  • ‘Terror swoops’ that have probably netted nothing but a few Pakistanis with dodgy visas.
  • Bob Quick’s resignation
  • Harriet Harman’s success in raising the profile of the BNP
  • The gradual emergence of evidence that points to fatal flaws in the way we investigate complaints against the Police
  • Smear campaigns being hatched inside the very walls of No 10
  • More ineffectual and hubris-riddled replies from the Two Homes Secretary to critics of her expense claims
  • Overpayments to the tune of hundreds of millions of GBP to the Irish government for healthcare
  • A revolt by the NUT over SATs
  • Painful haemorrhoids*

The above list is just a selection of some of the more problematic incidents which have all conspired to fuck up the week for Gordon.

Fuck knows who’s going to be leading us after the next General Election – I don’t trust more than a handful of the shonky shitweasels we have as politicians – but I don’t think it’s going to be Gordon…

*I made that one up.