ME and Ophelia

Monday, May 31, 2004

More British MPs need to *get* blogging

Soon the news will be hotting up on the handover of Iraq. I'm collecting a new cross section of political blogs to get a balanced view of events, especially during the run up to America's presidential election in November. Tips on informative political blogs would be gratefully received.

I'm looking too for answers to elementary questions on American politics. For example: What happens if Kerry gets ill or run over by a bus, who'd take his place? Could Hilary Clinton suddenly join in the race against Bush for the White House? Seems the Americans have only two main political parties: the Democrats and Republicans. Is Kerry's party the equivalent of our Labour Party - and Bush the equivalent of our Conservative Party? Which party do liberals (and those who are anti Bush and against the war on terror) in America support - the Democrats or Republicans?

Here in England we have three main political parties plus several smaller ones. Labour Party (left). Conservative Party (right). Liberal Party (center). And smaller parties representing the views of minority groups such as the Greens, Independents, etc. Our current Prime Minister Tony Blair leads the Labour Party (referred as Socialists or Socialism - ex leader Neil Kinnock). Ex Prime Minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher was leader of the Conservative Party (also referred to as Tory or Tories) - current leader is Michael Howard. Lord Paddy Ashdown is former leader of the Liberals - current leader is Charles Kennedy.

Lately some members of the Labour Party (and a few bloggers I know of) are actively pushing for a change of leadership within their own party. Seems they're working at pulling down our democratically elected Prime Minister by openly discrediting him and backing Chancellor Gordon Brown (edited insert: Deputy Prime Minister is John Prescott) - or some other politician who hasn't much chance of being elected as Prime Minister.

If Tony Blair is pushed out by the Labour Party that he brought to power - after it was totally unelectable for 18 years - the Party will not get my vote. I'll just abstain from voting. I've no confidence in old fashioned Labour thinking as it can't seem to progress or move with the times. Gordon Brown doesn't seem to have Tony Blair's amazing energy, people skills and ability to calmly juggle and hold it all together with vision while under pressure. Bearing in mind too that we get two brilliant minds for the price of one: Cherie Blair is super intelligent, maybe even more so than her husband.

Seems that Labour has no other credible leader who'd be accepted as Prime Minister by the majority of voters in the UK. Same goes for the Conservatives and Liberals. From what I've read, only a minority of bloggers (but most of the media) appear to be fixated with the war in Iraq - and yet on the doorsteps of British voters, the war is hardly an issue. British voters, and the majority of personal blogs I visit, seem more concerned over what's happening closer to home and in their own back yards.

Of course, no one is indispensable. But I do hope Tony Blair serves at least another term as Prime Minister. If he wants to that is. I can't imagine why he (or anyone) would want to lead the Labour Party. Seems a pretty troublesome and thankless task. Especially since the criticism comes from those who are not competent to do the job.

It'd be good to see more British Members of Parliament (MPs) starting personal journals and really getting into blogging.

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 5/31/2004 0 comments  
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Do political reporters *hear* political bloggers?

Excerpt from the American Journalism Review: "Political blogs--online journals featuring commentary, often highly opinionated--have rapidly become a presence in the campaign landscape. Now some established news organizations are hiring established bloggers or creating their own. How much impact does this instant punditry have on mainstream political reporting? When political bloggers bay in the blogosphere, do political reporters hear them? The answer, I quickly learned, depends on four factors: how you define "political blog"; which political bloggers you mean; which political reporters you mean; and--not to go all Bill Clinton on you--what the meaning of "hear" is." Read more...
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Political reporter says his blog beat Associated Press with a scooplet

In the above report on political blogs, Ryan Lizza, a reporter for The New Republic, says he's used his Campaign Journal blog to break news: On April 2, 2004 he happened to be on the phone with Jim Margolis, Kerry's admaker, when Margolis said he was leaving the Kerry campaign and read Lizza a prepared statement. "It was a very inside story, but kind of cool because you could break it and put it on the blog," says Lizza, who posted the news at 12:22 p.m. that day, beating the Associated Press with the scooplet by 11 minutes. At the New York Times, Wilgoren learned about Margolis' departure when a colleague e-mailed her Lizza's post. "My guess is that everybody who wrote about this heard about it" from there, Wilgoren says. "It seemed that everybody I called about Margolis had read Ryan's thing. So he broke news on the blog."

Lizza reads blogs "pretty religiously" and has a list of 10 or 15 blogs that he checks in with at least once a day. He thinks "one really smart blog that deserves to get more attention" is The Decembrist which "tends to be more thoughtful, more of an essay style." But he cautions that "you don't want to get too wrapped up in what some parts of the blogosphere are obsessing about, because it can sometimes be this self-contained world."