When Guido met Georgina

A merry Mrs Recess Monkey frogmarched Guido across the New Statesman party on Monday night towards someone who looked vaguely familiar. “Guido, this is Georgina”. Ahaaa, we were all smiles. The Guardian online editor said she didn’t get the cut my grass for free crack until after the phone call. She also claimed to have missed seeing the news about Guido getting more traffic than the whole of Comment is Free. Of course…

She generously blandished offers of money towards Guido and seemed to misunderstand, perhaps deliberately, or perhaps because she wasn’t sure if Guido was teasing. No really, Guido has no interest in writing for Comment is Free, it is, like Open Democracy, a conglomeration of variable quality writing from various perspectives. CiF has no personality – successful newspapers have personality, the best blogs have personality – people want to know what they are getting. The smorgasbord approach doesn’t seem to work very well. Why do bloggers need a single corporate platform anyway? For readers a click to another page or another site is seamless – so being on a shared platform is of no advantage to the writers, in fact it means they are subject to editorial whims. If you have your own blog you are free to write what you want, if you blog for a newspaper you submit yourself to editorial veto. That seems a retrograde step.

Blogging collectives only really work for the readers when the editorial line has some focus – Samizdata or Harry’s Place forinstance take a line and have a community of writers with broadly similar views (Samizdatistas think private gun ownership is good and want to liberate Iraq through firepower. Over at Harry’s place they think gun ownership is bad and want to socialise Iraq through firepower.) Good writers who are unable to follow a line are far better off doing their own thing. Guido is forever grateful to Samizdata’s Perry De Havilland “losing” article submissions in his spam folder, it led directly to the creation of this blog.

So unless you particularly need £75, give the CiF a miss, write for yourself, do your own thing. Remember, you can make the news now, the technology is available to you and it is beyond their control.

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Quote of the Day

Writing in this week’s Spectator Diary, the former Chancellor and Evening Standard editor attempted to encapsulate how Boris operates…

“My children have the measure of our prime minister. A couple of years ago, my son and I went for a lovely Sunday lunch at his house in Oxfordshire — where he has a Kalashnikov mounted on the wall. Boris suggested we play a game. A tug of war, but with a difference. The rope is tied around your waist and the contest takes place across a swimming pool. If you lose you end up in the water, fully clothed.

That’s Johnson for you: fun, inventive but ruthless. I suspect his brother Jo had one ducking too many.”


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