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Blogging and Iain Dale

I was stunned to learn recently that Iain Dale, who I regard as one of the best bloggers in the UK, is giving it up, but I can understand his reasons totally:

The truth is, I no longer enjoy blogging and I think that this has been evident for a few months now to my readers. I hate the backbiting that goes along with it. I hate the character as
sassination that is permanently present. I no longer enjoy the pressure of feeling I have to churn out four or five pieces every day. I used to enjoy sitting in front of the TV at home in the evenings and writing blogposts at the same time. I can’t do that any longer as I am on the radio every weekday evening. And when I am in the office during the day I have two companies to run. Something has to give.

And if I am honest, I now feel that my blogging is having a negative effect on various aspects of my business and broadcasting life. For instance, yesterday I felt, for various reasons, I had to slightly caveat what I really wanted to say about Tom Baldwin’s appointment. Another post in the last few days has caused an unfortunate situation too with a potential advertising client. My blog is indeed a personal plaything, independent of Total Politics or LBC, but the reality is that this is not how many in the outside world see it. And I now need to recognise that.

I was one of Iain’s first readers as I followed his blog during the 2005 general election when he was a North Norfolk parliamentary candidate and I was the Conservative Eastern Region press officer. When I started blogging at the beginning of 2006, he supported me by recommending me on his website and has highlighted several of my stories over the years in his regular Daley Dozen posts which was guaranteed to drive extra traffic my way, as well as kindly recommending me on Radio 4 Woman’s Hour.

I started blogging for the same reason as Iain, I suspect, because I enjoy writing, sharing ideas and communicating.  I sympathise with him about the “character assassination” he has had to live with because I have also experienced to a lesser degree the nastiness and dark side of blogging, the character assassination which the vitriolic can spurt out, simply for supporting Iain and others. I know it has been much worse for Iain, and there is only so much of this a human being can take, but the cyber bullies shouldn’t feel they have won.

However, as Iain’s blog became more successful and attracted a high media profile, it obviously help develop new contacts for him and opened many doors which has led to the present success he enjoys with his political publishing business and his radio show. I’m not surprised he has no time left to write blogposts.

Blogging also shows your true personality, which is why I wrote this post back in 2006 about why I loved Iain’s blog – and the reasons remain as relevant today:

1. It is authoritive and knowledgeable
2. Very fair too (remember how he stood up for Adam Rickitt and told everyone to lay off?)
3. Wickedly provocotive
4. Savvy and fun
5. Juicy source of stories for the sensational hungry media
6. Sets the agenda
7. Promotes lesser known bloggers like myself
8. He feels passionately about what he does
9. Very imaginiative – remember The Little Red Book of New Labour Sleaze produced with Guido and his loyal following
10. He has a nice smile

I, for one, haven’t given up on Iain becoming a Conservative parliamentary candidate in the next general election.  I expect his ears were burning a couple of weeks ago when I was at a Conservative Association lunch and committee members were telling me what a great MP he would  make, but should focus on an urban seat.  So don’t give up on that dream Iain …..

Thankfully, Iain’s regular Daley Dozen posts will continue to be published by his able assistant Grant Tucker and Iain will still write occasional posts without feeling pressurised to deliver. When you write a high profile personal blog on a regular basis, something else in your life has to give. And when your blog compromises your work, especially financially, the day job must come first.

Thank you Iain for your support over the years and for your great blog which will be missed by me and so many others.

24 December update: Iain is not the only political bloggger packing it in. Watch this video to find out others who are as well. It almost feels like the end of an era, and who will fill their shoes:

Political bloggers say goodbye from Political Scrapbook on Vimeo.

Political bloggers say goodbye from Political Scrapbook on Vimeo.


2 Comments

  1. As he said, one can’t do everything.

  2. I thought his blog went off when he started to twitter

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