Sunday, February 25, 2007

Who do so Few Candidates Have Blogs?

My friend Tracey Crouch has set up a blog. She's recently been selected as Tory candidate for Chatham & Aylesford. It set me thinking. Only 10 Tory candidates, out of around 110 selected so far, have blogs. Why?

I think it's quite simple. There is a real fear that blogs are dangerous. That you can write something which either might come back to haunt you later in your career, or that you will inevitably write something which the Party hierarchy disapproves of. This is very short-sighted. Blogs provide candidates with a cost-free way of communciating with their electorate, when they want, how they want, as often as they want. They can't replace printed literature and more traditional ways of voter communication, but they can compliment what candidates already so.

In my view there is a smple solution to this. CCHQ need to make clear that they positively encourage candidates to have blogs. I think there is a real recognition by Francis Maude that the positives of blogs far outweigh the negatives. There is no single best way to do a blog. Look at the examples out there and there's a tremedous variety. Here are the 1o Tory candidates with blogs. If I have missed any, let me know.

Andrea Leadsom, Andrew Percy, Brandon Lewis, Deirdre Alden, Kevin Davis, Esther McVey, Marcus Wood, Nick King, Trevor Ivory, Tracey Crouch.

PS Well, it's snowing in Washington. Off now on a second hand bookstore trawl.

39 comments:

Praguetory said...

You've omitted Paul Uppal recently selected for Wolverhampton South-West, who is aiming to blog twice a week.

Justin Hinchcliffe said...

Now nine: Kevin Davis isn't a candidate.

jailhouselawyer said...

Is this per chance your Washington Post?

I have heard a rumour that you intend running for President...

garypowell said...

Simple answer Iain, as you will find out yourself if you continue in your political career.

Is that you expose yourself to to much personal scrutiny.

Politicians like the public to think they are all some kind of superhumans that are so well researched and smart, that they really do know how to run peoples lives better then themselves.

What is more your opinions are in writing which is very open to later criticism, should you ever become a threat to any other politician.

This has all the potential to back you into a corner which you will find later to be a right pain in the ass.

Personaly I think you do a good job at it, as you dont set yourself up as having the answer to all the problems in the world.

Dogma and Conservatism dont sit well together.

Unlike socialism which sits in the corner slowly eating itself and us to death.

Scott said...

Isn't it because most blogs are hardly ever read?

Waste of time, in that regard.

Geoff said...

Hard for you to comment JHL, as you will never even be allowed into the US with your record.

forthurst said...

I suspect that many of them are technophobic and are too ashamed to ask their children to show them the ropes. That is the only explanation I have for the utterances of Tory MPs and others who seem totally oblivious to the rather heated discussions taking place in the blogosphere concerning the Neocons and the Middle East, which is very different in tone and emphasis to that found in old media channels.

David Anthony said...

And why do so few MPs have blogs?

I'd certainly like to know what my MP is doing from week to week.

Mikechester said...

So few candidates have blogs because so few candidates have so few words to say.

Check out this author's blog:
http://alexscarrow.blogspot.com/

I have no link to this guy, but like to read his blog. He's not afraid to have his say on politics. Why can't Conservative candidates have a little more spunk and say what they feel?

Ellee said...

Julian Sturdy is going to have one very soon, he is contesting the new constituency of York Outer.

javelin said...

Maybe most candiates are just boring tossers who have nothing to say - more likely they are too afraid to say something original in case they offend somebody who may not select them.

A bit of software that shows MP's diaries on the internet would be useful to allow MPs to publicise what they do all week. Better still a GPS so you can find which bar they're in.

Gracchi said...

The obvious one I'd have thought of is Mark Clarke- ok its not a candidacy blog but it still lets people get to know him. I wonder if part of it is that there is such a potential for a Jodie Dunn moment- it strikes me that such things would make such easy stories for bored journalists on local papers- I wonder whether there will be one such every news cycle but that's just my pessimism.

wirrallad said...

javelin said...

Checkout Esther McVey,s blog and tell us if she is boring and hasn't got a clue.

Guido 2.0 said...

Who do so Few Candidates Have Blogs?

Sorry, Iain... no more free lessons for you.

David Gold said...

I have just started a blog (not in answer to Iain's comment, it's been in the planning for months).
Thanks to Dizzy for getting me on-line.
www.davidgold4eltham.com/stg/

Mostly Ordinary said...

Not sure blogs as campaigning tools are that useful? Surely the point of the blog is to post what you think, not what you think people want?

HolyroodBelle said...

I am Jack McConnell's candidate blog thank you very much.

Phew! Cheek!

Londontory said...

I still get the newsletter sent out by the MP where I used to live and it's great. He could easily convert it to a blog if he wanted to. As for candidates, I expect they are worried that blog posts can be misinterpreted and used against them by opponents in future "dirt digging" excercises.

I am certainly put off standing for elections by the kind of lurid personal attacks that so many attract. These days candidates really must have nothing in their past which might embarass them in later life. I think that's a real shame because it means we tend to only get candidates who have followed a pre-ordained preferred career path rather than the broad spectrum of candidates we should hope for.

garypowell said...

David Anthony

Believe me you dont really want to know what your MP is doing from day to day. You might never vote again. Unless your MP is Ann Widdercome, or at least female.

If Iain bless him was your MP for example. Would you really want to know what he gets up to from day to day?

I think that sort of thing is best left up to Iain and his god.

Anyway I have always been a believer in "ask no questions hear no lies." it generally works very well.

Basildon Bob said...

http://vote4metcalfe.com/

***WARNING*** If you suffer from epilepsy please do not visit Stephen Metcalfe's site!

I don't know what pleb is behind his site design but the changing face picture moves far to fast.

On the left hand side you will find a link to his Blog - although he hasn't bothered to update it for a month and he does not allow comments!

David Anthony said...

garypowell, good point. But that's precisely WHY I want to know!

My local MP accumulated the 4th highest expenses from all 659 MPs. I want to know what he is doing to justify this.

Cato, author of toryheaven.blogspot.com said...

Iain, I agree that blogging can be great a tool for Conservative candidates. But I also understand why some might be fearful. It is true that bloggers, especially new ones (I speak as a very recent blogger), can run the danger of treating their blog a bit like a diary or a journal, and not everything that we write in our diaries we would wish to make public. Blogging lacks that editorial eye that otherwise might tell an author that perhaps they are over-stepping the mark. I suspect that to be a blogging candidate means, if you don't want to risk saying something which you might later regret, you have either to be very confident of your impecable judgment or (and this may be the solution to encourage more blogging candidates) to run your potential blog entries past a spouse or other family member fjust so you have someone else's reaction before it gets to the point of no return.

jailhouselawyer said...

geoff: As it happens, its easy for me to comment. Never say never. An exception was made for John Lennon. As America is where I get the second most traffic from, one never knows what the future will hold. Even the American's are partial to an International sensation!

Ian Lewis said...

Here's a few more:

Jake Berry (Rossendale & Darwen)
Michelle Wiseman (Bury South)
David Nuttall (Bury North)

All available via my site!

Ian Lewis said...

Oops - and Paul Maynard (Blackpool North & Cleveleys)

dynamite said...

As has been alluded too, the more you write, the more sentences you produce which can be torn from their context and bunged into opposition literature in the heat of election - witness Jody Dunn...

Stephen Tolkinghorne said...

I've just looked at the good lady's website whom Iain mentions. I noticed she's a fan of football. I never trust would-be politicians who follow this awfully rough sport and support 'teams' of hired mercenaries to score goals simply to upset another set of 'supporters'. Such contempt for one's fellow man is hard to comprehend.

I'm sure Mr Dale would agree.

garypowell said...

JHL
Perhaps you should form a pop combo and marry a crazy breadhead bitch.

Get yourself some world wide fame. Several million fans and several more millions of £s in the bank, and you may just swing it.

Much easier to get yourself some snide ID and just wing it. This should not be too hard with your conections.

I think it would be a good idear to change the name, its a bit of a give away. If there is one thing that the American authorities really dont like, its a jail house lawyer.

BTW

Do you not think that the main reason why you get a lot of hitts from America is because many of them are trying to enlist the services of a lawyer to get them out of jail?

jailhouselawyer said...

garypowell: Problem is I can't sing and can't play an instrument. A crazy redhead is trying to get me to marry her now. I think I need one who will provide stability. As you say, jailhouse lawyers don't go down well with the American authorities. They don't go down too well here either. No offers of work. Europe, America and China are my biggest hitters. I have no idea why the Chinese find it so interesting.

Mike Rouse said...

You missed out Heather Wheeler in South Derbyshire

http://www.heatherwheeler.co.uk

Chris Paul said...

Jake "the fake" Berry has one I think Iain. Ahhh I see Ian Lewis has mentioned it but here's the link. I see he thinks like a Tory think tank and that he should be an dot-org not a dot-con.

It used to say he lived "in Manchester", later "on the outskirts of Manchester", and now presumably will have changed to "the environs of Rossendale" or some such. No, alas it doesn't. It still has him moving to Manchester and living on the outskirts thereof.

All the while Jake has of course lived in Cheshire, on the Liverpool side of the M6 I believe.

Bet you don't print this. No scratch that. You will.

Incidentally the Conservative home analysis of Jake's selection commented on his spolling, grimmeur and sin-tax and this may account for not more nice but dim Tories having blogs.

Perhaps it's a clever play on words that maternity units are in fact a "hug" rather than a "huge" issue in Rossendale?

Certainly the local government candidates Dave/id was communing with in Benchill, Wythenshawe may not be starting theirs anytime soon.

david kendrick said...

Unless the candidate likes sitting at his confuser for hours, I don't think PPC's should blog. If you can't/don't want to update it twice a week, do something you do enjoy....

There are things worse than an out-of-date blog. But not many that are less useful.

Anonymous said...

The real problem, Iain, concerns those who post on your site. It won't take much for Labour or Liberals to start to do selective quotations. Comment moderation may be the answer, though I would have thought it time-consuming (if a success). Website with regular updates may be safer.

Bernard said...

Have'nt heard of ANY of those people! Blogs or no.

jailhouselawyer said...

Iain,

I think you may find the answer to political blogging here:

http://gingersnaps.wordpress.com/2007/02/26/lynnster-opines/

garypowell said...

JHL
Good to see that you have kept your sense of humour. It can get you though just about anything, trust me.

A little time in prison would give many people on this site,a humanity check.

Marry the bitch what have you got to loose? They are all the same in that reguard anyway.

Pollbitch said...

perhaps its because no one gives a toss what is said in blogs and they prefer to use their time for useful means instead of irrelevant political gossip that is only read by people who vote their way anyway.

blogs only appeal to people who are politically engaged in the first place, perhaps they want to reach out to people who slip off the political radar? if so, that might be a sign that there actually is some kind of progress in the tory party.

maybe they've just got better things to do with their time that pander to the political elite?

Norfolk Blogger said...

Iain, I've mentioned it before, but I am not sure blogs are as successful as people claim.

Your blog was considered by people outside of North Norfolk as a great success, and as a blog, it was. However, as a campaigning tool, it wasn't.

As one of the core team opposing you in North Norfolk, we actually think it worked against you, not for you, and we certainly didn't find that it harmed us at all.

I won't go in to further details as we don't want Tories knowing all our secrets. Better to let them make the same mistakes again.

Dr Michelle Tempest said...

Not sure if you included the candidate Dr Phillip Lee (www.phillip-lee.com)

Hope you are enjoying your time over that side of the pond! Michelle