Thursday, 28 January 2010

Salter Eats Some Vinegary Words

No, it's not more about the state of winter road maintenance which has been getting bloggers all worked up, but the 180-degree reversal by Reading West MP Martin Salter regarding the validity and value of blogging.

Only 3 months (at most) before he follows through on his self-imposed decision to leave office he has decided to take up typing a few regular thoughts to engage more directly with the people he represents.

His 'blog' can be found on the Telegraph's platform - here - which is unfortunate because post syndication is disabled.

This is, as martinsnothteone reminds us, a man who used the law to delete 3 previous versions of critical blogs and who once said:
"There is no prospect of my ever blogging. What little I have seen of the blogsphere, it seems to me to be the last refuge for tragic insomniacs who lack social skills."
This in contrast to reknowned social-media advocate Cllr Daisy Benson, who argues that politicians should embrace new media as a way to 'break down barriers' and engage with the public.

The move has given former colleague Jane Griffiths a whole new lease of life as 'Salterwatch'.

She starts off by welcoming him to the arena, but notes the irony of a Labour party stalwart choosing such a solid right-wing platform as the Telegraph.

The former Labour MP follows up by recalling Mr Salter's 'fulminating' on BBC Radio 4 that blogging was 'anti-democratic', and asks when will local media outlets advertise the site to local electors?

Jane manages to sustain her attack against Mr Salter by asking whether he recieved any support from his tax-payer funded staff to help produce it, and if he has whether he has declared this to the Parliamentary fees office.

She subsequently discovers that the Telegraph pays £150 per blog post - which is nice work if you can get it (considering I average about one-per-day), but that Mr Salter is already resorting to recycling his 'Westminster Diary' which he supplies to the local print media every fortnight.

Elsewhere well-known local commenter Nowtas emerges from his shell to write a blogpost on the subject. He describes Mr Salter's blog as the 'feeblest' among the Telegraph's stable, worth only a 'giggle'.

In unrelated news Conservative MP for Reading East, Rob Wilson warns too much hot air may suffocate, as new research shows 76% of the population in the south-east of England are putting themselves at risk of being poisoned...

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More stories about the local media environment.

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