Tory and Lib Dem spin over David Miliband’s blog

Over the weekend some bloggers such as Elle Seymour, Iain Dale and Antony Mayfield have been getting themselves into a tizz over the alleged cost of David Miliband’s ministerial blog. It was all sparked off from a parliamentary question by Lib Dem Chris Huhne. Elle and Iain both do a brilliant job of trying to smear David’s blog initiative. Personally I think they are both far too smart to actually believe what they are saying. It’s pure ‘spin’ and being selective with the truth to knock a Labour minister. And nothing wrong with that, it’s their job although I am not sure if I would do the same if it was a Tory minister. It’s one of those none stories a bit like David Cameron on his bike being followed by his official car carrying his papers and a change of clothes. He is Leader of the Opposition people. He has a lot of papers and has to look smart. He cycles because he likes it. Give the guy a break, in the same way that Elle and Iain should give David Miliband a break and actually praise him for actually trying to do a pretty good blog in very difficult circumstances.

For an intelligent analysis of the story I’d suggest reading Simon Collister’s new eDemocracy Update blog which correctly takes David to task for not being quite transparent enough and Simon Dickson who explains what the blog really cost and has a much fairer analysis of what it all means.

The only thing I would add is that it is essential to realise that David’s is a ministerial blog. It is to help him do a better job as Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. It isn’t a personal or political blog so comparisons are irrelevant and inaccurate. Investing government money in improving how ministers engage with the public is a good thing. It would be a good thing whichever party was in government.

I suspect Antony Mayfield might write about Miliband’s blog in his PR Business column this week and that I might just be writing a letter for next week’s PR Business!


About Stuart Bruce

International communications consultant and PR trainer specialising in online public affairs, digital corporate communications, online PR and social media; frequent national media commentator and conference speaker.
  • http://www.open.typepad.com/open Antony Mayfield

    Tizz? :-)

    Copy's just gone to bed, and there's no Bruce-bait there, 'mfraid – not of the Miliband variety anyway. I thought Simon Dickson put it all to bed nicely with his post.

  • http://www.open.typepad.com/open Antony Mayfield
  • http://www.elleeseymour.blogspot.com Ellee

    It is important to remember that the essence and spirit of blogging is about transparency. People want to communicate with David Miliband the man, as well as the Minister, and he is refusing to do that. At least you can have a laugh with Boris Johnson. When he was in the Sunday papers for an indiscretion, there was an hilarious conversation going on about it. And he manages to run his site for free. This is obviously an area that needs further exploration as such vast amounts of time and money are reportedly involved with the Miliband site.

  • http://simoncollister.typepad.com/edemocracyupdate Simon Collister

    Thanks for the link, Stuart.

    I've just posted a comment on the eDemocracy blog about a key distinction that a few political bloggers are missing but you picked up (in fact I probably picked it up off you a while back!).

    Boris's is a personality driven blog; Miliband's is a ministerial blog. I would argue they have different aims. More on eDemocracy soon…

    Nice blog redesign by the way!

  • http://www.pr-consultant.co.uk Stephen Newton

    Ellie wrongly claims that Boris Johnson blogs for free. But, by the same measure, he doe not.

    His blog is maintained by his staff (nothing wrong with that). So it would be fair to take the proportion of their time spent on that activity and put that proportion of their salaries down as a cost of blogging (in the same way the civil servants salaries have allocated here).

  • http://theengagingbrand.typepad.com Anna Farmery

    If he could evolve the blog into dialogue then I don't think the cost comes into it….as it is pure market research + pr + talking to the people who elect him and other ways are much more expensive. If he keeps it one way then it may well be seen as spin going forward and therefore cost comes into it, especially as his stature grows. Blog if you want dialogue….have a website if you want to give info out, I value him trying to blog, I think if he embraces it it could become a way of engaging the newer generation who are becoming more and more disenchanted with the political system. P.S He did actually respond to my comment I posted which was great…and I felt that wonderful feeling of being listened to!