Tuesday, February 03, 2009

John Prescott: I Want to Believe

Plausibility is not enough in the blogosphere. You have to be genuine. You have to, as the saying goes, "Keep it real". Especially if you're a politician. You can't get a flunky to write your blog. In the end you'll be found out.

When I say what I am about to say, believe me, I say it with a heavy heart, because in my heart I want to believe. Not in aliens from outer space. But I want to believe that John Prescott is genuinely writing his own blog and interacting with his Facebook friends. I really do. But in recent days, I have begun to have my doubts as to whether it really is the old bruiser himself, manically updating his blog and writing on his Facebook page.

My doubts were heightened today when I read THIS blog entry (which he also has on Facebook), which is called 25 RANDOM THINGS ABOUT ME. There's nothing in particular in the writing (apart from the use of the phrase 'I beg to differ') which makes you think it isn't him, but I just cannot imagine John Prescott getting a Facebook meme and thinking to himself, yup, I'll sit down and do that. He's more likely to say 'what a bloody waste of time - Pauline, fetch my dinner'.

I am told that the real driving force behind GoFourth.co.uk, is not John Prescott, nor Alastair Campbell. It is John Prescott's son, David, who lost out in the battle to succeed his father as MP for Hull East. Although the GoFourth site domain name is registered to Alex Hilton, I'm told it is David Prescott who has done all the work on it - and a good job he has done too. But I wonder whether he is doing more than pulling the whole thing together.

If any of JP's own blogs have indeed been written by anyone other than the great man himself, can I advise that it should stop now. Think of the successful MP blogs - Nadine Dorries, Lynne Featherstone, Tom Harris, Tom Watson, John Redwood. No one would doubt for a minute, reading them, that anyone but them had written every word on their blogs.

I don't say this as a Conservative blogger trying to score a point. As I have made clear on this blog in the past, I think from what has appeared on GoFourth, they "get it" in a way that Labour List never will. I'm actually trying to be helpful, believe it or not, because, as the headline to this blogpost says: I want to believe. Convince me. Assure me that JP himself wrote that 25 RANDOM THINGS Facebook entry and then tagged the 25 people himself.


Nick Thornsby said...

The note you refer to says 'through' instead of 'threw'. Just thought I'd highlight that too.

Jabba the Cat said...

Jabba wasn't aware that Prescott was capable of stringing two words together on paper let alone navigating a keyboard beyond the neanderthal one finger stab, and would therefore have someone in the Derek Draper mould as his ghost finger piece.

@molesworth_1 said...

Where d'ya get that cartoon of 2.0Jabs? It's a classic!

jailhouselawyer said...

"Plausibility is not enough in the blogosphere. You have to be genuine".

You have to be honest.

As I was saying earlier on another thread.

Is this another example of PC Dale, the self-appointed blogosphere policeman? I seem to recall you accusing Tim Ireland of seeking to do this.

However, I have to agree with you on this. It is not JP's style. And there was good reason why his son was not selected.

Someone has suggested before that I don't write my own blog. I dismissed the crank for what s/he was. It's all my own work, save for links, and my photoshopping is credited to RonKnee as only the idea behind it are mine.

Is this the blogosphere's equivalent of the book world's ghost writer?

Anonymous said...

I too have become increasingly suspicious of JP his blog - to the point of I'm not commenting on GoFourth anymore.

Prescott's blog started off with great promise - a refreshing surprise from a 70 year old Labour politician who I thought had always seemed very old fashioned. It was actually fun and interesting to read when it kicked off.

But something is not right - I'm disappointed, I thought JP would be more interactive with his commenters. There is no real dialogue.

I've also noticed that there is less of a genuine 'personal touch' in the last few posts that he has made on GoFourth. I actually feel like JP could be treating his readers like fools? He should tread carefully.

I posted a reply to his Cruddas blog which was very polite but highly critical. It took over 24 hours, an entire day, to appear - while other comments appeared within minutes and hours. That really pissed me off.

Alastair Campbell is just going through the motions on there - it's still a propaganda site - but I thought it might have some personality?

I remain unconvinced. And disappointed.

Anonymous said...

He always was a man economic with the truth.

Plato said...

I doubt very much that Mr Prescott is writing this as there are just too few syntax crimes to be credible.

If it is his son, then I can understand the desire to ghost write these - but the merciless nature of the blogosphere will expose it nevertheless.

Come out from behind the sofa and be counted.

wv liest

Dick the Prick said...

It's not bad if he's using a secretary is it?!?

Dave H said...

Others are being unkind about it too:

"Unless Gofourth, as at first seems more likely, is a cruel parody of the Obama campaigners' more demagogic tendencies, in which the lithe, brilliant, thoughtful, articulate, uxorious, preternaturally dignified individual at the centre of their massive online movement is replaced by a blustering, discredited exhumation from the British political past whose personal attributes are, in every case, the opposite."

The Creator said...

I am not at all sure Prescott can count to 25.

Anonymous said...

I cannot understand why anybody, no matter how interested they might be in politics, would want to read anything by Prescott.

If Prescott where a schoolteacher a doctor or any person in a normal position of responsibility - he would be in jail right now.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

In real life, Prescott displayed all the the verbal erudition of a can of peas. Translating that into the written word would defeat any spellchecker or voice recognition I know of.

This isn't the same John Prescott, it it?

Unknown said...

I did think it was strange, that a man who has in his day mangled a public transport strategy; planning procedure; and held some responsibility for the environment use the rare event of a opposition day debate, solely to complain that Georgia was not being discussed.

the orange party said...

Did you really believe John P wrote all that stuff?

Son David is an ex-hack who set up a commons PR lobby firm called Geronimo and I believe now works for those nice people at the media monitoring unit.

It's just part of the new New Labour strategy to try to get a toe hold in the political blogsphere.

Not doing very well, are they?

Paul Burgin said...

Oh Iain, you're rather fond of the old bruiser deep down aren't you! ;)

Chucklenuts said...

The only part of the blogs name I like is Go. FFS Go.

Andy said...

I can't believe it took you so long to realise this...I think some blog people are so desperate for grownups to take them seriously that they will grasp at any straw that suggests they are going mainstream.
All this rubbish about being so much better than the MSM is silliness. Just look at the amount of time that people like you and the unfathomably newsworthy Shane Greer are on telly...that's where the real money and power is and that's why y'all do it.

subrosa said...

Iain, I thought you would have done a wee bit on the latest scandal in Scotland today. It appears the Glenrothes by-election registers have 'gone missing' and therefore the SNP are unable to do any checking. They've been asking to view the registers since November. The Dundee Courier were first to break the news.

I'll let you take it from there ...

Hacked Off said...

It's about as genuine as Prezza claiming only to have taken his salary all those longyears - forgetting about all the travel, accommodation, food, and fees for his mangling of the poor English language for corporate idiots via the dodgy JLA company.


Man in a Shed said...

I assume you can cross reference posting times with public appearances.

Although there a lot to John Prescott, even he can't be in two places at the same time.

Unknown said...

John Prescott couldn't write his own name on a wall with a spray can!!

Unsworth said...

I'm not convinced that blog owners should be bound by any 'rules' at all - apart from those which they choose to impose upon themselves (and their readers) and those which are determined by the laws of their countries. We've already seen moves by this monstrous government to impose its own controls - and that will certainly lead to censorship and the further destruction of free speech.

Is there some sort of 'rule book' which everyone has to abide by? If so, where?

More importantly, who determines such 'rules'? Much of the comment here, for example, is from those who wish to impose their particular 'standards' on this blog. Well, by what authority do they do that? What right do they have to make such demands? In short, who the hell do they think they are?

There are liars and shysters and, rather more rarely - those of integrity, everywhere in life. Why should the Internet be any different? If the illustrious John Prescott chooses to have his blog written by someone else, should we be surprised?

The Grim Reaper said...

I want to believe that John Prescott can actually write in the first place, never mind that he writes his own blog entries!

Events dear boy, events said...

I do not want to steel your thunder by posting about this myself. My guess is that you are probably right. I have hesitated in saying similar as I was not confident in doing so.

Years ago in the late 90's, soon after New Labour came into office, I had much to do with Prescott's dept. over the tendering of the London Underground PPP. His officials all moaned that Prescott would never deal with detail and had no grasp on the finer points about anything. He would never concentrate on anything longer than a few seconds let alone minutes.

I doubt much has changed over the years at his age, and I think you are probably right.

The other comment is his use of English. His posts are not written in the Prescott style. It is just not him.

Anyway what is wrong for an old man to have a bit of fun?

Savonarola said...

John Prescott you are a fraudulent blogger. Sue me if you disagree. You did not write that blog.

Has Pauline read it.

You know " I am still in touch with my staff ........."

You chancer you.

Note to DP

Quit this deception. You must be daft to add the staff bit. Tracey wont be best pleased.

My Left Foot said...

Ian qouted from your rules of engagement

"Strong argument is welcomed, but please try to steer clear of personal insults where possible."

I have noted several replies on this thread that blatently throws that rule out of the window.
But still what can you expect people only resort to personal insults when they have nothing sensible to say.

Tim said...

The mess that Nadine Dorries runs on her website is not a 'blog', Iain. You know this, and you embarrass yourself when you pretend otherwise and even go so far as to present your friend as a poster child for blogging.

Prescott appears to have someone to help him out with the typing. Nadine Dorries has admitted in public that she has staff upload *all* content to her non-blog for her. You can't claim not to be aware of this; she admitted it in public once when you were on the same damn panel sharing your 'expertise'.

You were more than wrong about this, Iain; you were biased to an excruciating degree.