Iain Dale’s Lord Levy moment

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I do worry that certain bloggers are getting too big for their boots. I’d draw an analogy here with one of my past obsessions: Robot Wars.

I used to love the show for the simple reason that it involved lumps of metal sawing the crap out of each other. Another entertaining feature was seeing the geeks who built the things being interviewed by the rather lovely Philippa Forrester (before she lost all credibility over the Brass Eye paedo debacle). Socially awkward at the best of times, they were all so clearly terrified of her it made truly entertaining telly.

The problem was though that after a few series, the programme started to hit the mainstream. Robots would be invited to open Village Fetes, become the talk of water cooler conversations, have affairs with Z-list celebrities and have embarrassing photos of them climbing out of cars with their undercarriages exposed published in Heat magazine, that sort of thing.

Meanwhile their designers started to believe that they themselves were minor celebrities. They started wearing team uniforms, developing team songs. Worst of all, they all started to think that Phillippa actually liked them. The sight of a sweaty, fat bearded man with no social skills attempt to flirt with an attractive woman 15 years his junior was truly awful to watch.

My question is, is the same thing happening with bloggers? Guido has been bouncing around the blogosphere recently expounding the Power of the Blog. And the lest we forget the supreme pretentiousness of the Euston Manifesto.

As for Iain Dale, he’s been roasted a bit on his blog today for writing a very silly post claiming that former Labour David Hinchcliffe’s decision to take up a non-executive directorship of South West Yorkshire Mental Health Trust is an example of New Labour sleaze. His defence seems to be that the press release announcing his appointment claims it wasn’t a political appointment but rather Hinchcliffe was appointed on merit (which on my reading it would appear that he was) and that, um, anyone criticising him is “employed to post on the blog by the Labour Party”. Including me.

Yes indeed. Iain is such a threat to New Labour that they employ people to discredit him, and his proof is that people post on his blog to tell him when he’s being a bit of a berk. He might as well just write a post entitled “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?!?” and be done with it.

Hubris. It’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it?

7 thoughts on “Iain Dale’s Lord Levy moment

  1. Quite agree James. ID’sD is largely a “diary of a media tart” telling us how many times he has appeared on “One Word” (who he?-ed) and the 11.45pm (delayed until 1am) BBC News 24 paper review on Sunday morning….oh and that he received a 3% vote in a survey of 100 people as the Tory candidate for London Mayor but of course he only mentioned that because he wanted to say that he would rather have pins stuck in his eyes than be a mayoral candidate….

    His tirades about Prescott devalue the genuine criticisms of the DPM. Does it matter if he used to argue with a Seaman’s foreman in Hulll fifty years ago and was served coffee in order to defuse the rows? That is the sort of title tattle on ID’sD.

    Having said that he seems a jolly enough cove and some of his little pieces are entertaining and he does allow a lot of comments.

    I had to laugh…one of his recent pieces was this:

    “My Article on Blogging in Today’s Yorkshire Post (only the BIG media for our Iain)

    I’ve written a feature article on blogging for the Yorkshire Post today HERE. This is the intro…

    There was a time, in the not so dim and distant past, when mainstream journalists viewed bloggers as the media equivalent of trainspotters. We were people who reputedly sat in our bedrooms, wearing an anorak and typing furiously on a laptop because we had nothing better to do with our lives.The Prescott affair has changed that. Blogs have helped make the political weather and, for the first time in this country, they have set the agenda for the mainstream media. ”

    This is because Dale published a link to Guido saying Prescott had “Cider with Rosie” and went on Newsnight to yap about it. ‘making the Political weather’?!! Laugh? I nearly cried.

  2. Not quite sure I see the Lord Levy connection…

    All I was doing was highlighting the rather ridiculous notion on the press release that political background played no part in his appointment.,

    As for the point about Labour employing people to attack back on Tory blogs, I happen to know that this happens. It’s hardly a surprise. Indeed, I make no complaint about it. At least I post their comments, which seeing as all comments on my blog are moderated, I needn’t do.

  3. Of course , people see some of the really big political blogs in the States and start planning to be a UK equivalent.

    One of the really good things about Lib Dem Blogs is that we are blogs in the plural – a community rather than a bunch of competitors.

  4. I have to agree… Iain is a seemingly decent sort of bloke for a Tory, but this posting was pathetic. The Appointments Commission was set up by Labour to try to ensure peole were appointed for their competency, rather than the traditional old pals act. I have to say, many Labour people deeply resent Blair because of it. They wanted the sweeties the Tories had handed out to their mates for 18 years to come their way, and didn’t see why they should play by the rules of cricket.

    The announcement by the appointments commission about a political background is designed to be part of that transparency. People have to declare it when they apply, and the Commission have to declare it when they appoint.

    Iain Dale was just trying to keep the ‘Labour sleaze’ ballon afloat whilst he was running out of air. Bloody hell, there are enough actual cases without this sort of fiction.

  5. Iain,

    The Lord Levy reference was a topical example of someone who allows pomposity about status to get ahead of him. Frankly, I’m surprised you missed that but got the Robot Wars reference! 🙂

    In terms of Labour employing people to discredit you, maybe they are all out to get you and maybe they aren’t. I’ve certainly come across odder things that Labour have squandered their overdraft limit on – the pillocks who used to work in their anti-Lib Dem unit were a case in point – but to imply as you did earlier that the people criticising you on your blog were doing it for the money rather than offering you a bit of free advice was laugh-out-loud stupid. I’m sorry you don’t see the funny side.

  6. James, sort of agree, but at the same time, the Labour astroturfing brigade are well known to exist, and it wouldn’t surprise me if there are a few posting at ID’sD as well.

    My only problem with the media coverage is that it’s consentrating on the salacious rumours, not the actual substance, but that’ll come. Bloggers, generally, spend most of the time reading each other, reading the news and commenting. Sometimes, they come up with real gems.

    Unity’s coverage of the Dome story (which he’s still researching) has been excellent so far, and it’s being followed by Big Media as well. There is a danger for Iain that he becomes too much a celebrity, but OTOH, it’s happened already in the US, so why not?

    There’s space for more than one political blogger to break through if need be. Alternately, we can keep plugging away at policy analysis, knowing that the debate on the issues is what really matters. We’ll see.

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