MPs interacting on blogs

image The government’s bungling of the Northern Rock crisis has led to John Redwood standing his ground on Tom Watson’s site. And it was a most civil interaction between the two MPs, no need for the Speaker to call out: "Order, order".

I wonder if this marks a turning point in political blogging, is it the first time an MP has posted a comment on another MP’s site?

When Tom Watson wrote:

"John Redwood helpfully spelt out what the Tories preference for administration would mean: “putting Northern Rock into administration could lead to a fire sale of assets and might result in taxpayers not getting all our money back” (John Redwood blog, 15 January 2008) though to be fair to John, he also condemns nationalisation. You’d expect him to do that of course. At the end of the day, he is John Redwood."

John Redood was the first to post a comment:

"I have consistently set out a better way of handling Northern Rock by the government acting as an intelligent and firm bank manager. The government should have taken more collateral for its loans, and specified tighter timetables for repayment, with a professional term sheet and cashflow monitoring. Taking the bank over makes the taxpayer responsible for all the debts, the staff, the pension deficit and everythign else, which will result in bigger losses for taxpayers."

That was early yesterday morning, I wonder if Tom Watson will respond to it, at least a courteous "thank you" ….

Hat tip: Dave Cole.


  1. “Granted, it’s a *clever* troll, but it’s a troll all the same… in very poor form and a day too late.”

    Still with the paranoid delusions I see, you’re mental, plain and simple.

  2. My first comment, Dizzy, makes a very clear point to Ellee that contributes to the debate in a way that does not start a fight.

    You, on the other hand, have come in deliberately trying to start a fight… and on someone else’s website, no less.

    Even better, by making these false accusations and assertions you’re compelling me to link or refer to the very same item I’ve been polite and generous enough to avoid in my original comments.

    Granted, it’s a *clever* troll, but it’s a troll all the same… in very poor form and a day too late.

    Now, if you don’t mind; some courtesy for our host, please.

  3. Jim the lurker

    Arguably Political Betting is the best place for politician’s on blogs… Nick Palmer and Stewart Jackson are regular commentators (there is also, i recall a Lib Dem MP).

    As are a number of jounalists (Nick Cohen and a Chap from the telegrpah) and these are only the declared MPs and Journos.

  4. Incidentally Ellee, and just for context, on the other point I was making. You see, if you go and read the nutter’s website you will see that he makes specific reference to my comment here and suggests that it was made tactically as part of one his paranoid little self-deluded fantasies. The thing is, that little fantasy of his does actually quite importantly link in with the topic of this post about interaction.

  5. Of course Ellee, and my original post was in fact on topic because it was highlighting Tim’s habit of pretending to be one thing publicly whilst acting rather differently privately on this matter of civility and interaction.

  6. Doing my level best, Ellee.

  7. Dave, thanks for the update. If you have any more info of who and when I would like to check it out.

    Tim and Dizzy, can we remain on topic please?

  8. “The fight’s over, Dizzy. You missed it.”

    Missed what fight Tim? I’m not having a fight, I’m just (a) laughing at the absurdity hypocrisy of unseen Tim versus seen Tim, and (b) pointing out to you that you little theories about Machiavellian collusion are so far removed from reality someone that had taken 100 mushrooms wouldn’t even believe them.

  9. Sorry but I can’t stand Redwood. I remember when he was education Minister!

  10. The fight’s over, Dizzy. You missed it.

  11. “Dizzy, this is not a good day for you to run about misrepresenting my position”

    Misrepresnting your position? Hardly, I was just pointing out that your to talk about civility flies in the face of the Tim Irleand that doesn’t get presented on your website. You know the one I mean Tim. The one that constantly emails people over and over again literally minutes apart getting madder and madder and acting like a big giant prat? That Tim, you know him right?

    Frankly, I think every day is a great day to take the mickey out of you. Just as tomorrow will be, and yesterday was, and all the days leading up to it, and all the days following tomorrow will be. You call me a troll, but actually I’m only a troll for you because the only way to deal with your trolling is too troll back, and then point and laugh at every moment you bite. I’ve seen your sort before, Stile Project forums used to be fall of them.

    Oh yes, and I’ve just read your blog for the first time this week and I see my comment about you above (which doesn’t misrepresent you at all btw, it’s an accurate representation of the Tim Ireland totality rather than the Tim Ireland Director’s Cut, but I digress), I see the comment above is apparently part of some great right wing distraction play about some random stuff you wrote about Paul which I couldn’t give a flying about. I mean, what planet are you on? Do you think that the three of us have conference calls arranging the next posting like a move on a chess board?

    Reality Check Loony Tunes. When your name has come up in the rare conversations I have with either of them the usual consensus is “ignore him”. It is only me that engages with you because I get off on it and I do it off my own back because I work on the Internet and have the freedom to do it. It amuses me the way you wrap everything around your own actions and see any action by someone you might be attacking as a reactive move to your own attacks, it’s like a psychological thesis just waiting to be written actually.

    Another reality check moment. Normal people do not think like you Tim. Normal people do not map out their Internet posting according to what Tim Ireland has written about them on his website. Normal people, especially those that you are attacking are hardly paying attention to you really other than a quick click in, scan, and away they go. Normal people don’t care.

  12. Yes, please. More of this. Maybe Nadine Dorries will be able to join in soon, too. If she’s genuinely worried about abuse, all she needs is a smarter blogging platform.

  13. I’m told by Tom Watson and Tim Ireland that I was mistaken and that there have been previous exchanges between MPs on blogs. Either way, I welcome it.

  14. Dizzy, this is not a good day for you to run about misrepresenting my position.

  15. *snigger* Tim Ireland talking about the joy and need for civility. *snigger* It’s a bit like Hitler talking nicely about Jews.

  16. Yes. Hooray for civil interaction. A bit of honesty here and there wouldn’t go astray, either.

    I mean, just imagine how easily Tom Watson could ruin the entire conversation simply by deleting John Redwood’s comment and pretending that it didn’t happen (and/or that it was something entirely different to what JR had actually submitted).

    That wouldn’t be on, would it?

    Of course, John Redwood deleted an entire *post* from his blog once and pretended that it never existed… but he’s new, and will learn eventually.

    (Ellee, if this marks a turning point in political blogging, it is a return, rather than a first turn. There was a far more civil age that most people tend to be unaware of. I’d love to tell you more about that someday.)

  17. I wish there was some consistency in the way that elected politicians approach the use of blogs, I quite enjoy visiting both John Redwood’s and Tom Watson’s and it’s good to see John is now “putting himself about”.

    We did have a blog from two Labour councillors on South Tyneside, it lasted a few months before the leadership decided that it needed to be pulled, also I used to receive a lot of comments from “cloaked” Labour councillors and party members on my site, the interaction and debate was healthy. However, comments have all but disappeared in recent weeks after the Labour group decided that councillors and party members should henceforth refrain from joining the debate at Curly’s Corner Shop!

    What a way to spread liberal democracy!

  18. Great interaction – it would be nice to think there will be a lot more of it in the future.

  19. It’s good to see that MP Tom Watson allows comments on his blog, all should do so.

    The local MP for my area (Bridgwater) has currently no proper contact form at the foot of his utterances (I’m being polite).

    Since he is new to the technology, hopefully that will change soon. The ability to email him is not the same.

    MP’s blogs are a wonderful step forward, especially if they promote rational, forensic debate instead of mud slinging.

    Perhaps even more important would be more blogs by Local Government councillors in which issues like rural regeneration could be approached in a more constructive way.

    By involving the public and their ‘collective intelligence’, at long last we might start making some progress.

    I carried out a mini survey, yesterday, and couldn’t find one councillor in West Somerset (my area) with a blog.

    Blogs are an efficient one-to-many form of communication that avoid issues having to be debated over and over again with different people.

  20. Good to see our MP’s blog commenting. It gives a bit of transparency to the debates going on. Better than a smoke filled room in the house.

  21. Dave, it’s my greatest pleasure, well done for picking it up yesterday.

  22. Thanks for the hat tip, Ellee. I respectfully doff my cap to you!


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