Handbags Over at the Speccie

Kite v Dale Round II : Melissa got Fisked and she didn’t like it. Tim Montgomerie and Alan Duncan get a swipe as well. Horrid Tory boys…

MyTorygraph

If you thought blogging had already gone mass market before, what do you think of the Telegraph offering free blog hosting? It is technically far ahead of the Guardian’s Comment is Free “blog”. Which always struck me as
(a) not a blog
(b) a mish-mash of variable quality writers.

Interesting to see how it develops and what the Telegraph thinks it will achieve by offering free MyTelegraph branded blogs to the masses. They get traffic, extra advertising revenue and you get a simple and restrictive blog in their gated community. Not sure how appealing that is as a proposition. Probably a place to start. Readers will have to invest a lot of time in finding writers they want to read and the noise to signal ratio will inevitably be high.

Until now the Telegraph’s blogging journalists have not been overwhelmed with comments and although Little and Large seems occasionally interesting, most of the blogs seem dead. (The giveaway is those digg et al voting buttons gathering dust and merely serving to emphasise that nobody diggs them.)

If an amateur citizen journalist blogger on MyTelegraph becomes a hit, how will the journos react? They are not exactly setting a tough standard to beat…

LabourHome 2.0 Re-Launches

That process of renewal for New, New Labour is all about us. The frankly, until now, faltering LabourHome site has re-launched. Last time Guido looked it still had Labour Beta 0.0 policies and articles advocating socialism. How so very 80s…

They do make the point today that they are the only open-access tool for grassroots activists. ConservativeHome and LibDemVoice allow user comments but have editors. Anything goes on LabourHome and anybody can put up articles. The new site allows some editorial intervention in that better articles can be bumped up front and centre by the editors. This might spare online political junkies the necessity of wading through endless articles on “bringing back socialism” for more current issues.

Not sure the best way to relaunch is to put a picture of yesterday’s man on the front…

UPDATE : 16:30 GMT site crashed. Didn’t something like this happen on the first launch day?

Censorship and Civility

It will come as no surprise that Guido has no intention of abiding by any Code of Conduct as advocated by Tessa Jowell yesterday. She wants the bloggersphere (sic) to be “OurSpace”, a public commons. Well here is the bad news Tessa, this online space is private property.

To be fair she was advocating self – censorship rather than state – censorship. Iran and China have blogger Codes of Conduct that are voluntary. If you insult religion or undermine the party you are volunteering to go to jail. One woman’s incivility is another blogger’s freedom of speech. It may not be to the taste of politicians or self-appointed arbiters of blogging protocol, but that is how it is, freedom of speech means you will find people saying disagreeable things in disagreeable ways.

Online rudeness and rowdiness are not a threat to democracy, blogging is not even a parody of democracy, it is a bit of software that allows everyone with an internet connection to publish online easily. That is it. The revolution will not be blogged, but the advance of the citizen journalist means that, hopefully “the truth” will be more likely to come out in the future. It is certainly harder for those in power to manipulate the media when the media is more horizontally dispersed because it includes thousands more independent sources. Some of which you will inevitably not like.

Today is World Press Freedom day. Bloggers are in jail around the world for insulting the state, religion and the dignity of their rulers. It can’t happen here can it?

Is It Local?

In general Guido doesn’t do local stories unless they have national implications because they are (a) of local interest only (b) incredibly involved (c) boring. Also they invariably involve tales of petty corruption which would require resources that Guido does not have to validate. The Sunday Times has the resources to put an undercover reporter into Labour’s Leeds party operation to uncover corrupt Postal Vote practises. Guido does not and sticks to Westminster stories.

There are plenty of local focus blogs that break local stories, Greenwich Watch does what it says on the tin to great effect and the annoyance of the local council. The blog billed as the “Welsh version of Guido Fawkes” goes from strength to strength. Despite a certain similarity www.ArsemblyWales.org will not be confused with the official ww.AssemblyWales.org. Some tribute sites are better than others. This one has a few other stylistic similarities that co-conspirators might recognise
.

Freedom of Expression is Absolute

According to the respected human rights advocacy group, Article 19, in 2003 Iran became the first country ever to imprison a blogger for views expressed online. Since then, over 28 bloggers and online journalists have been imprisoned on various charges such as “insulting the Supreme Guide, propaganda against the regime, threatening national security, incitement to rebellion and insulting leading figures in the regime.”

Every day Guido wakes up with the sole intention of inciting rebellion and insulting leading figures in our own regime – so a sense of solidarity is natural.

Guido ventures into foreign matters only because the dead-tree-press are getting into a bit of a lather about us hoi polloi writing, horror, what we like on blogs, Jonathan Freedland is today’s worrier about the health of the blogosphere. His focus is on unruly comments. He notes the quip “First they came for the commenters, and I said nothing because I did not comment.” That sentiment is Guido’s feeling. The comments here do get out of hand occasionally (imagine what they’d be like if Guido didn’t hit delete). The house rules are mysterious, arbitrary and sometimes inconsistently exercised. But this blog is not a public service, it is private property, no taxpayers were harmed in the production of this blog. Nobody forces you to come here, you don’t have to read it, so if you don’t like it, don’t come back.

Ciao Tutto da Venezia

Am away for the weekend and forgot to put comment moderation on. You-know-who posts five comments on one post – then cries “he deleted me” when the inevitable happens. Iain has now banned him as well, so he is starting an anti-Iain Dale blog to join his anti-Guido blog. That is fine by me, freedom of speech means he is entitled to publish his views.

The difference in audience size enjoyed by the likes of Iain and Guido compared to the contributors to our respective anti-blogs is growing. Now readers will know that Guido, like Iain, is a humble type, shy and retiring even, so it is with some hesitation that Guido ventures to say that the reason Iain and Guido have far more readers is that we try to be entertaining and bring news. Now Guido may only aspire to gossip and tittle-tattle (over 80,000 people have watched the Gordon the Bogeyman story), but that seems to be what people want and enjoy.

It may not be what others think Guido should write about, it may not be in the deferential style that others think should be employed, it certainly gets up the noses of the old media and the embedded-in-the-political-system journalists known as the Lobby. If you don’t like it, don’t read it.

Simple. Better still, offer a more compelling and attractive product that beats Guido in the competitive marketplace that is the blogosphere. That takes hard work. The easier path is just to call for censorship or attack and try to undermine the legitimacy of your rivals. Claim that Iain and Guido’s ascendancy is not based on hard work or talent, but lies and fiction, claim that the two most successful and well known bloggers in Britain somehow undermine blogging. We have done so much to popularise this medium – it is not going to wash. Blogging is just an easy way of publishing, it is a software platform, not a religious movement. Get real.

The new anti-Iain blog is in a sense a tribute blog and further evidence that the contributors have a poverty of ideas. They would enjoy more success if they tried something less derivative and more novel. Meantime Dizzy wants an anti-blog as well. You’re no one daahhling, if you haven’t got one.

GOTCHA!

Fooled some readers and bloggers yesterday. Guido will spare the blushes of the leading blogger who explained in detail why Guido’s traffic would and should be down. Despite the move and the resultant broken links, traffic is again up some 10% last month, unique visitors: 326,897, pageviews: 478,717. Iain Dale remain’s the main referrer – as if Tom Watson would ever be popular.

In the coming months Guido expects big developments in Loans for Lordships, including a new witness coming forward. Gordon Brown’s very own Smith Institute will be in Guido’s line of fire – expect a direct hit.

This is the blog you love, and they hate.

Traffic Surprise

Two surprises in fact – last month saw an unprecedented dip in traffic to this blog. Excluding the summer and Christmas holidays (when Guido stops posting) this blog has had a year-on-year, month-on-month trend of rising audience numbers. Today sees

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Speech Writing This Morning

Best Man at a wedding this afternoon, so no blogging…

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As Usual With Upgrades, Things Need Tweaking

Consider the blog to be in Beta version…

UPDATE : Colour error fixed, apparently an errant { was responsible. Those complaining about the width of the text box being too small should know it is unchanged, the page is just

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That Taxpayer Funded Non-Political Blog Again

When the Treasury finds out it is paying for this someone is going to be in big trouble. How did this get through moderation? If you have a civil servant paid a pro-rata rate of some sixty grand to do

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