However, with the exception of the widescale CyberNats, some of whom are PPCs or PSPCs I don't think, and may be corrected if I'm wrong, that either STB and TTD have yet to have an extract from their blog posting in the MSM with the ephithet (former) X Party candidate for Y attached to give it authority. So therefore Kez and I would seem to have fulfilled one equivalent role together, being a blogosphere spokesperson for our parties and also aiming to be selected, contest and win seats for our parties. Therefore from that viewpoint I'd like to look at just what Kez said in her retirement message to the Blogosphere.
She said she got into blogging and it eventually became a political tool. Well I can agree with that, I started my blog purely as a political tool. My aim was to have it in place before persuading the local party to set up a website. Of course just after I'd persuaded them to set one up, West Lothian became an unexpected focus for politics and both took off exceedingly quickly.
Kezia however add that the power of her Blog as a political tool is something she sometimes estimated. I somehow doubt that is 100% true. If you read on down she says her high points to get diary stories or making the Best of the Blogs list in Scotland on Sunday shows she has some idea of her reach, this woman is not naive. She also is a reasonably well known activist within her own party, her image was on her blog and as she despaired of anonymous bloggers used her own name. Therefore I'm pretty sure that, like me, she can't attend party events, of whatever nature, and not have somebody either comment on her blog, say they have read it, or take exception to something she may have written.
It's when you get to her view on the relevance of blogging:
"Blogs, comments forums, phone ins, letters pages, YouTube, all collectively
set the mood music for Scottish Politics... the SNP know that and they utilize
it very effectively. But I also think it's a very seedy environment - the vast
majority of bloggers operate anonymously. And with anonymity, accountability
Blogging is no longer, in my view, a proper vehicle for debate. It's been
saturated by partisan venom and that can be quite debilitating.I'll write a post
and then 95% of the comments that follow will be negative. That doesn't mean I'm
wrong every single time... but it does begin to feel that way when the
blogosphere leans so heavily towards nationalism and/or a right wing
and why she herself has given up:
"Blogging has become too much of a risk. I have an inclination that the vast
majority of my readership are SNP activists just desperate for me to trip up
spectacularly. I'm not risk adverse and this is no act of cowardice but I have
to make a judgement about whether or not blogging almost daily for the next
three years, in the run up to the next Scottish elections, is good for me
personally, good for my career and good for the Labour Party. I've decided that
for now, and certainly the immediate future, it isn't."
That sadly reflect the state that too many potential candidates find themselves in. Kez may be denying that there is any outward pressure on her to stop her blogging, but compare her enthusiasm for Web 2.0.
Blogs, comments forums, phone ins, letters pages, YouTube, all collectively set the mood music for Scottish Politics... the SNP know that and they utilize it very effectively.
I'm not risk adverse and this is no act of cowardice but I have to make a judgement about whether or not blogging almost daily for the next three years, in the run up to the next Scottish elections, is good for me personally, good for my career and good for the Labour Party.
How can something that is good and utilized effectively by the SNP not be good for her, or for that matter the Labour party? I don't get it, and that goes for many of my fellow Lib Dems who have also given up the ghost on their blogs when they move forward. Yes in a candidate situation you may find yourself being more careful in just what you post. I have a number of drafts that have never been posted because I did a rethink before I pressed publish. However, I've come to the stance that while not all of the people will agree with what I blog all of the time**, some may well agree most of the time, and most some of the time. But as long as I give a reasoned argument for the stance I take if anyone does try and use it against me, my come back could well be just what have you said at the time. Silence may be golden, but hiding behind a mask of it isn't much better than being an anonymous poster.
One final thing if as she writes she is going to stand again for the Lothian List she may well wish to remove the big button to her blog from this site before she kicks off that selection campaign again in earnest.
Sadly with Kezia's departure one of the things she posted has become true, the blogosphere now leans a little more heavily towards nationalism and/or a right wing agenda. The rest of us who are not so aligned will have to take up the slack and encourage others that that isn't the way it needs to be.
*Considering I was the only Holyrood outsider on that list quite an accolade.
**However, if you do drop a comment and maybe we can meet up sometime, have a drink and plan a family together or something.