Friday, May 06, 2005

Alan Milburn Blog: the final curtain

As I said earlier, now that Alan Milburn has been re-elected as MP for Darlington, I will no longer be actively writing on this blog; it's original purpose was to try to convince Alan that a blog was the best way for him to engage with the people of Darlington. He either doesn't agree, or doesn't think this is important. To be fair, even with a slightly reduced majority, he's way ahead of the other parties in the polls, so why does he need to bother trying to convince us he's doing a good job for us?

If Alan has a change of heart about blogging he and Kath know where to find me, if they need a hand setting things up.

See ya.


Blogger Andrew Urquhart said...

An alternative would seem to be to hand the site over to someone else.

It's likely that there are some more extreme folk out there who would be willing to light a proverbial fire under his derrière — say Veritas/UKIP/BNP/…

The experiment with Alan Milburn's assistant Kath writing here was a big disappointment. I can't decide whether or not it was a diversionary tactic or a genuine attempt to engage with constituents. I think more a case of the former as the few posts that were written by her were naked PR sound-bites — the kind of thing you'd see in Labour Party literature.

There was, and still is, an opportunity for Alan to engage with his web-savvy residents. Is he afraid of technology? Maybe. Is he simply too busy? The Parliamentary stats indicate otherwise. Does he think blogging is a fad? Probably. Does he have nothing to say? Possibly. Is he afraid of having to answer readers questions in public? Only he knows that.

One thing seems to be certain though. Whilst he continues to use dead trees and the telephone to communicate with constituents he will not be hearing the voice of typically younger people, and that is something that other Darlington candidates can capitalise upon since he chooses not to.

12:45 pm  
Blogger Mike said...

I know for a fact that Alan has a Blackberry, so can send emails from enywhere; emails that could be automagically added to the blog. Alan also has a Nokie 9210 telephone, with built-in digi-camera (as does Kath), so he could easily add photos to the blog, via something like Flickr.

I got the impression that they felt they had spent a lot of cash on their current website, with little return from it. However, I feel that's because of the way the site's set up, rather than an inherent flaw with the medium.

I also felt that there was a feeling that Darlington residents were much more likely to communicate with them via letter, fax, telephone or in person, as they get very little communication electronically. Again, thet may be because of the current set-up, using a contact form, rather than a problem with electronic communications.

Both Alan and Kath, Kath in particular, seemed interested in the opportunity, and Kath did post some more 'bloggy' items (it does take a while to get out of PR-speak, I suppose, and use a more natural voice).

I also think the whole return-to-cabinet thing may have forced blogging to be put on hold. If you look at Tom Watson's website, it's become less personal and frequent since he was made a whip, and since the election came along.

Anyway, I'm going to email Kath a link to this post and see what occurs.

5:00 pm  
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