Housekeeping

Thought I'd do a bit of post-election spring cleaning. There's been movement in the sidebar, with some candidate blogs moving up to become AM blogs (OK, just the one) and others disappearing altogether.

I think it's unfortunate, incidentally, that certain candidates and ejected AMs have decided to delete their blogs. Blogging is, after all, a conversation. And when you're having a chat with someone and it doesn't go your way, you don't punch their lights out and tell them to forgot everything you've ever told them. I would have preferred to see those blogs preserved as relics of the 2007 election campaign. They might have made interesting reading in twenty years time.

Never mind, we are never short of new blogs entering the fray. I am now linking to Thoughts of Oscar, Glas, New Welsh Right, Matt Wardman, Llanelli Political Journal, Cascittuni, Mynydd Llwydiarth and View from the Glen. As ever, if you're not on the list, do get in touch. Good luck with it.

There are no new Labour blogs, by the way. And I don't mean no 'New Labour' blogs (only elected representatives seem bold enough to write those), I mean that there are no new blogs from Labour supporters at all.

Ten years ago, when Blair became prime minister, Labour was the 18-30 party. The man was chillin' out with Oasis for God's sake. But what struck me during my own time at university was the relative weakness of the Labour youth movement compared to the Tories and the Lib Dems. So, when commentators such as Simon Jenkins write off the Lib Dems, I think they're being a little premature. They have phenomenal support among the current generation of students and recent graduates. And these chaps may well mature into loyal Lib Dem voters if the party can get the right leader.

Labour, on the other hand, has been tarnished by Iraq and tuition fees. Students like to indulge their radical streak. They like to shout about injustices and societal wrongs. They aren't terribly keen on defending what all their pseudo-intellectual chums are calling the indefensible. A change of leadership is probably just what the Labour party needs to make young people feel a little bit less embarrassed about supporting it. Who knows, they may even start blogging.

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posted by Blamerbell @ 11:07 am,

31 Comments:

At 11:58 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

still no link to arsembly, I see.

I wonder why?!!?

 
At 12:06 pm, Blogger Mike said...

Hi.

I'm not convinced that the links to Sandy Mewies and Elin Jones are links to blogs?

 
At 12:23 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

Yes, you're right. Time for them to go I think. Elin Jones started off by calling it a blog, but I don't think she had the gumption to do it properly.

Still no link to arsembly? It's one thing to express your political opinions anonymously... defaming or insulting people is something quite different.

Accusations which are motivated by malice are on very weak legal ground.

For my general thoughts on the subject see HERE and HERE.

 
At 1:17 pm, Anonymous Mike Wood said...

I agree that campaign blogs should be preserved as part of the record of the 2007 campaign but I'm not sure that that means that they should be kept online at their current location forever.

The National Library have written to candidates to ask permission to archive their websites. I have agreed and I'm sure that almost all other candidates have too.

I've turned off comments on my site for anybody who isn't registered because I'm tired of having to go through page after page of spam comments in the approval queue.

I'll probably leave the rest of the site as it is for a couple of months before taking it down. By then, hopefully the National Library will have their archive available.

 
At 1:18 pm, Anonymous Matt Wardman said...

Cheers for the link.

Matt

 
At 1:21 pm, Anonymous Matt Wardman said...

On the "disappearing" history front - I was looking for a 1980s logo for the Labour Party, and it was a devil of a job finding one.

I'll be posting in the next few days about making sure that your blog is archived.

 
At 1:25 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

I think, as Mike mentioned, the National Library of Wales are taking care of archiving the blogs that covered the assembly election.

I haven't given them explicit consent yet because they expect me to print out a bloody form and send it back to them. Seems like an incredibly clunky way of dealing with a 21st century phenomenon.

 
At 1:30 pm, Blogger Tortoiseshell said...

Relieved to have survived the post-election cull!

Ian Titherington probably the most spectacular "crash and burn" of the election blogosphere?

 
At 1:34 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

Personally, I think he should have kept it up.

I was beginning to enjoy his rants and forlorn 'not even my union supports me' photographs.

 
At 1:37 pm, Blogger LabourMark said...

There are new Labour Supporting blogs out there I am one

 
At 1:46 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

Good stuff!

Are you a new Labour blogger, or a New Labour blogger?

 
At 1:56 pm, Blogger LabourMark said...

I am a Labour Blogger

 
At 2:17 pm, Blogger NewWelshRight said...

Cheers for the link.

I can't see Labour's angle into making the current generation of sixthformers and school pupils Labour voters either. The Tories have a place amongst the careerists, who want high paying jobs and low tax, and the Libs amongst the squishier types, but Labour seem at a loose end.

 
At 2:40 pm, Blogger Valleys Mam said...

Ian Titherington probably the most spectacular "crash and burn" of the election blogosphere?
Alun Culture Pugh went PDQ too
Blamer- u still have a link to Ian T
I wonder if it was him or his spouse who did the bloggin - shes a professional communicator isnt she

 
At 2:42 pm, Blogger bethan said...

'and the Libs amongst the squishier types'

very amusing description.

on the national library front, you can email them as well. that's modern enough for you surely!

 
At 2:44 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

I think you still have to print off a form for the snail mail.

I'm still linking to Ian T because I hope he's going to pick it up again.

(or I'm too lazy to trawl through deleting inactive blogs. It's a real tragedy.)

 
At 2:46 pm, Blogger bethan said...

I wonder if it was him or his spouse who did the bloggin - shes a professional communicator isnt she

it was definitely ian. you'd know his style anywhere.

 
At 3:20 pm, Blogger Luke young said...

blamer - I got an email from NLoW saying that if I didn't reply with an objection, they were going to archive my blog and sent me another form at some point 'down the line'. Surely it'd be better for everyone to do it by email :)

 
At 5:55 pm, Blogger Geraint said...

I am a young Labour blogger, although I've neglected my blog for some time now over university work (yes, students do have work, believe it or not) I been planning on abandoning blogging, but this post by you has changed my mind..

Although I am no elected representive of Labour, and I can be seen as an "old" Labour socialist, althouhg I dont think there is a reason for anyone to be embarassed about being Labour, if anything I am proud to be Labour and proud of all the social good Labour has done.

 
At 6:02 pm, Blogger Praguetory said...

Your red rag (pardon the pun) didn't draw much fire. Interesting.

 
At 6:32 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Students like to indulge their radical streak."

I'd question that campaigning against tuition fees is in any way radical - in fact I'd argue that its reactionary, elitist and self-serving. If students went on demos calling for extra cash to be pumped into early years and childcare I'd have a bit more respect for the free loading bastards. I don't think this country has produced a radical student since the mid 80s. So there.

 
At 6:57 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

Picking up on a handy little device I learnt from Tony Blair, I don't think I actually defined what 'radical' is.

I merely said that Iraq and tuition fees have, perhaps, tarnished Labour's appeal among students.

If we are discussing tuition fees, I'd say that those same children you are talking about, who have an under-privileged upbringing, have as much right as their wealthy peers to attend university. Higher education as market place means that the richest students will go to the best universities.

I would have thought twice about going to Cambridge knowing it would cost £3,000 a year. I wouldn't think about it at all if it cost £10,000, which looks like the way things are going.

Praguetory, it drew a little more fire by email, which kind of reinforces my point about people feeling a little ashamed about it:)

 
At 8:01 pm, Blogger Geraint said...

Hmm, I am from a working class family and the fees have not stopped my going to university, and the fact is with tweaking, tution fees can be used as a very re-distributive measure (although, to a small degree it is at the moment)

Anyway I dont think fees are anything to do with preventing the poorest from going to university. And the fact is that education spending is better spent on complusary education, which everyone has to do (although more money should be directed at schools in deprived areas) rathern then university education, which only a few do.

 
At 10:29 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Geraint said...
"Hmm, I am from a working class family and the fees have not stopped my going to university, and the fact is with tweaking, tution fees can be used as a very re-distributive measure (although, to a small degree it is at the moment)
Anyway I dont think fees are anything to do with preventing the poorest from going to university. "

Well tell that to real working class families with three teenagers wanting to go to University. It's impossible. There are thousands who have been prevented from going to Uni or continuing their courses because they just could not afford it. I live in an University city and it's known many students have to drop out because of financial problems. Maybe you are one of the lucky working class students who have extended family to help support you? That is the only way so many have managed to complete courses.

Labour HAS to bear this terrible responsibility. It deprived a generation who had expected to improve their lot through further education. This is something Old Labour fought for in the past, a gateway for the working classes to improve their lives. The system set up to help them finance their way through college was central in making this possible.

 
At 12:04 pm, Blogger Geraint said...

Well, I am from a real working class family myself, lived in a council house all of my life. However there are programmes set up to support families who cannot afford to go to university, and I do agree that the system must be more re-distributive (as I believe I did say) in how it allocates fees, subsidies and if possible free places for the poorest, however I still do not think that it is right to take away funding from other areas of education, most of which is complusary, to fund university for the few that go there, unless of course taxes are raisen, which will not happen sadly.

 
At 12:24 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Geraint said...
//Well, I am from a real working class family myself, lived in a council house all of my life. However there are programmes set up to support families who cannot afford to go to university, and I do agree that the system must be more re-distributive (as I believe I did say) in how it allocates fees, subsidies and if possible free places for the poorest, however I still do not think that it is right to take away funding from other areas of education, most of which is complusary, to fund university for the few that go there, unless of course taxes are raisen, which will not happen sadly. //


As with Income Support and Pension Credit, true, the very poorest are being helped. But the vast majority fall outside these benefits, and there is nothing for them. They are the ones with parents who have struggled to buy a home and bring up a family, with sacrifices. The amount of financing required for an University education is prohibitive. There have been suicicides when students have gone down the borrowing route and find themselves in impossible situations before completing their studies. The government expect parents to bail out when the going gets tough and many can find the resources from extended family or giving up holidays, new car etc. But many cannot too. They don't all live in council houses.

BTW taxes have risen. New Labour is the first government ever to take from the poor to pay for the poor. It won't upset its rich supporters. So there are new pensioners being taxed to almost oblivion to pay for other older pensioners, some have even lost much or all of the private pension they paid into all their lives. The future sees a generation or three of pensioners who will never vote Labour after this major destruction of a system that has allowed some decent dignity to the elderly in this country in the past.

So why doesn't New Labour tax the rich? Because they will do as they did in the 60s (another Lab govt) and move their money abroad.

 
At 3:15 pm, Blogger Geraint said...

(Obviously I didn't mean I live in a council house at university, it be impossible to get one unless you are an immigrant or have 5 kids)

So how do you propose universities are funded then? You are right in saying that raising taxes on the richest would mean the money would be moved aboard, the only funding that can go to university is from the students themselves, unless money is cut from elsewhere in the education budget, which I think will be a lot worse for the poorest in society.

As for pensioners, they are a lot better off under Labour then they were under the Tories, with winter fuel allowances, more help for the poorest pensioners, free TV licences, and the ones that usually complain are either not pensioners themselves, or the ones with another source of income, however after the last Tory government were pensioners froze to death, I don't think that would be a better option for them.

 
At 3:26 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

The principle of universal health care is that everyone contributes because we all benefit from a healthy society. Despite this, only a few people will ever need a heart transplant.

We are trying to create a knowledge economy in Britain. But we are charging an entrance fee. Surely, if the principal is that everyone benefits from an intelligent and curious society, then everyone should pay for it?

And remember, the very very best students don't go on to earn millions in the city, they stay in academia and get paid bugger all.

If one thing can still be said to set Britain apart from the world, it is the quality of our elite universities. And yet it is increasingly the case that only the wealthy can afford to pursue the academic course to its conclusion.

If you think undergraduate fees are prohibitive, don't even think about a postgraduate course.

Whether we like it or not, there is now an income threshold below which it is not possible to take full advantage of the unique academic institutions we have in Britain. And that is a great shame.

 
At 4:57 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Geraint said:
"As for pensioners, they are a lot better off under Labour then they were under the Tories, with winter fuel allowances, more help for the poorest pensioners, free TV licences, and the ones that usually complain are either not pensioners themselves, or the ones with another source of income, however after the last Tory government were pensioners froze to death, I don't think that would be a better option for them. "

Most peoole are dead before they qualify for those benefits. You have to be 75years old for most of them.
I'm talking about those 60 to 65 who are being seriously taxed to death now. There is zilch help for them from the government, they are being crippled by huge increases in council tax,water rates while trying to understand why a so called socialist government would destroy the security they had prepared for their retirement.

Geraint, there are people out there who have not paid a bean towards an occupational pension, never paid a morgtage, have been in and out of work all their lives. The governments (incl tory) made sure they did not starve. Their choice.
Labour made sure these people were well rewarded by ensuring they got Income Support plus a lot of other benefits and freebies. They do not pay council tax,(or only little) rent (or only little) and get free dental care, help with pet care , things that are very costly. When these people retire they get a nice new package again and are again better off that ever before.

But, anyone who has a private pension these days and is about to retire is in for a huge shock. They will be paying for the freebies and goodies of the benefit system.
Women over 60 are particularly in trouble, their tax payments will double making a massive dent in their income. Some will not be able to afford council tax. This was an issue all candidates heard about during the hustings. Labour cannot hide this embarrassment under the carpet and hope that what they give to over 75s will make up for how they are fleecing the new pensioners.

 
At 5:07 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blamerbell Briefs said:
//Whether we like it or not, there is now an income threshold below which it is not possible to take full advantage of the unique academic institutions we have in Britain. And that is a great shame. //

This is a legacy of New Labour. Even Conservative governments did not destroy hope at the grass roots. The means to support students to go to University has worked well for over 50 years. Not all parents even with the means, are willing to support their children in education after 18 yrs. Adding the fees burden to the other Uni costs has ended all dreams of degrees for many clever people.

What the Universities are offering and producing also reflects this changing intake of students.

 
At 5:23 pm, Blogger Geraint said...

Don't get me wrong, I would like to see free university education, but where would the funding come from?

 

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