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.