No, this isn’t about anything productive. I’m not talking about any book or article I’m about to publish or even a piece of coursework I desperately need to finish.
Several posts to this blog remain in drafts hell. Most have never left my head as the idea I had while walking to the playground evaporates or loses cogency when I’m faced with the tools to turn my thoughts into words other people can read.
One thought that keeps bubbling to the surface is how I took a stand against online bullying and normalised aggression and nastiness five years ago. I ultimately failed to make a difference, but I am still proud of myself- I feel I deserve a lot of respect for it. Sadly, even proud of my actions as I am, there are unresolved issues relating to this event that mean that this post may be less about my actions to make the world a better place, and more about my sense of unresolved bitterness at the way I was treated- as if I was the problem rather than the brave person standing up to it.
The second post is surrounding this post on a true story about Daily Mail lies. Mine is a more general piece about lies and the media, namely that I don’t think the fact “they all do it” makes it OK, and that there is a big gap between skewing a story toward a newspaper’s agenda, and simply making stuff up.
Part of what holds me back is the futility of blogging. Something that drives me on each day is a desire to work towards making the world a nicer and better place. Even standing up for people wronged as rude and nasty on the internet, by those far ruder and nastier, counts. Trouble is my capacity for actually achieving this is limited (as evidenced by the fact I chose a time where I tried and failed as a “proud moment”). It sometimes seems that more intelligent and philosophical blogging is unlikely to change minds, only to get the converted nodding and those that disagree riled rather than challenged. Opinion pieces seem to reinforce opinions, rather than change them.
A couple of weeks back Professor David Nutt, an advisor on the subject of drugs, was in the media because some things he said contradicted the government’s position on the reclassification of cannabis.
Soon after Alan Johnson sacked Professor Nutt claiming that he had campaigned against government policy.
I thought there was something fishy about this, it didn’t seem to me like the statements were campaigning, even with the media leaping on them in the way they did. But with work and family I didn’t have time to look beyond the headlines. Turns out my feeling was right. Dr Evan Harris, (the Lib Dem MP for Oxford West) covers this in his blog, systematically taking apart the sacking and then Alan Johnson’s response to criticism.
I’m not sure whether the campaigning line, that Johnson is still sticking to is his own misunderstanding of the situation, or whether it is an interpretation that he keeps restating in the hope people believe it.
Saw this and wondered what you thought about it:
Bloggers of the World Unite
Hmm, an interesting but ultimately silly story.
Mildly right wing bloggers in the states (the ones the rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth, extreme right nutters label “leftist” or “liberals”) have been in talks about forming a union.
I can only think the press and the rabid screamers have got the wrong end of the stick. By union they must mean some sort of talking shop, where like-minded people swap ideas. Not what is commonly referred to as a union, an actual trade union.
Bloggers are, as they stand, largely independent people. Few make any actual money out of it, indeed many popular blogs have their hosting fees subsidised by their writers’ day jobs. So if a union was formed, who would it represent, and to whom? If you are being paid to blog, surely you are either a journalist or working in another environment where you already have a trade union.
As the article points out the real barriers for blogging is that the opinions of bloggers are far more diverse than would be encountered in any sector of actual employment. These differences would be a real barrier to a bloggers’ trade union achieving anything.
I do see professionalism and codes of conduct for bloggers as a bit of a threat, to be perfectly honest. A union could be only of interest of the cream of the crop, the best of the best, shutting the rest of us out of the vague community that is “the blogosphere”. A bloggers’ union would create artificial boundaries between the semi-professional commentators, the likes of me who exist in a netherworld between the commontaters and the diarists, and those who blog about purely personal matters. When at the moment there is just a wide tapestry of blogging with only the vaguest of boundary between one type and the next.
A union would, in the end, create more “us and them” situations, and therefore divide rather than bring together.
I missed this last night for various reasons, not least of which was the fact I hadn’t gone to Brighton for the conference. But on the today programme this morning I caught it, and an interview with Stephen Tall, the winner, and Iain Dale, an ex-bookseller from Norfolk who the BBC seem to think is something big in political blogging. Iain did make a good joke about Tom Watson though, so he can’t be that bad.
Strangely enough he seems to think I’m something in Lib Dem blogging as he’s ranked me 59th out of the top 100 Lib Dem bloggers, which given my recent lack of activity on the political front is both strange and flattering.
Yesterday I also missed the LDO AGM, which is a shame as I may have motivated me to stand for the exec, or at least speak at the meeting. However I probably would not have been able to do much to justify the position, given my commitments outside the party.