Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

Farewell to blogging

13/05/2013, 01:45:47 PM

by Peter Watt

Well it had to happen at some point I guess.  After nearly three years and (I think) just under 150 posts I am giving up political blogging.  I have in all honesty been treading a fine line for a while now as I have tried to balance the competing pressures of my “day job” and my blogging.  It seems a long time ago now but the person who asked me to write for Uncut first was John McTernan; but I said no as I was still unsure as to whether or not I wanted to raise my head above the parapet.

My book had caused a bit of a stir earlier that year and I decided to keep my head down.  But then Tom Watson asked me to write a post when he was guest editing the site.  My first post was during the leadership contest and was advice for the incoming leader – something of a recurring theme!

Originally I wrote the occasional post and then one every other week before finally agreeing with Sion Simon that I would write a weekly post for Thursday mornings.  Sometimes they flowed easily and at others they were a complete nightmare.  At times I felt I could’ve written on a whole range of issues and at times I struggled to find any subject at all.  But I am pleased to say that I have not missed a post since; and that includes writing posts on holiday and over Christmas.   I’m not absolutely sure that my wife Vilma is as pleased about this as I am.

I have enjoyed the variety of people from across the political spectrum that have commented on, tweeted or messaged me about my posts.  It’s funny how sometimes I wrote things that I was really pleased with and no one seemed to notice.  At other times I would rush off something that I was unsure of and it would seem to hit the mark.  Occasionally people seem to feel that they could be rude as opposed to simply disagreeing with me.  It bothered me a bit at first but not anymore.


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Politicians need to engage not constrain bloggers

30/08/2011, 09:57:31 AM

by Peter Watt

I had an interesting conversation this week with someone who still works inside the political bubble. They recounted how they had been trying to persuade a member of the shadow cabinet (I was going to say “senior shadow cabinet”, but everyone always does) on the merits of the Labour blogosphere. The shadow cabinet member was irritated that they were suddenly expected to take bloggers seriously. Why, they contended, should they have to take this self-appointed group of experts on nothing seriously? After all, all they seem to do is moan, criticise and complain. Of course, the same thing could be said of many journalists.

I have some sympathy with this Luddite shadow cabinet member. The rules have changed, suddenly we are all experts and commentators. Stories break and are commented on faster and faster. Trying to manage a story or maintain message discipline is increasingly difficult. The internet, Facebook, Twitter and the like have all meant that even if you wanted to run a command and control political operation, it would be pretty bloody difficult.

There is a problem here though. Political parties still want to operate as if they can control the message, in the same way that they did five or ten years ago. On the whole it worked then after all. Decide what you are going to say, and then say it often without deviation. As Ed Miliband discovered recently, it can occasionally sound a bit odd. But sound bites are only a manifestation of the truism of the goldfish like attention span of the average voter after all. Well, when it comes to listening to what politicians say that is. (more…)

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