Monday, August 25, 2008

Total Politics - insensitive to its female readers or too sensitive to criticism?

I've been having a bit of a row with Iain Dale this evening, after I made a throwaway remark about his new enterprise, 'Total Politics'. I think that he's been a bit touchy and defensive but...

I am, however, going to criticise one element of the latest issue of 'Total Politics'. This article is the sort of article that adds nothing to political dialogue, and is, to be honest, a bit of an insult to female readers of the magazine. Why does the dress sense of our politicians matter, as long as they are smartly presented? Will there be an article on the dress sense of some of our male politicians?

It's all a bit odd really, as I've generally been quite kindly towards Iain in the past. In fact, our years at the University of East Anglia overlapped somewhat, and whilst I knew a bit about him (to be a Conservative at UEA did tend to mark you out in an institution as generally left-wing as UEA was would tend do to that), I've paid rather more attention to his career in publishing and then retail politics after that. He has successfully carved out a niche in the world of political blogging and all credit to him for doing so. For all the carping that has come from some of our number, he has gone out there and made something happen.

So I have been puzzled by the fact that he has, to be honest, bothered with someone who is really rather insignificant in the great scheme of things. I hold no political power, have a small amount of influence on things that have little, if any, impact beyond the bureaucracy of the Liberal Democrats, and blog when I have time and not even always then.

Some of my non-political friends take the view that most of us bloggers are too self-absorbed and too precious by half. We imply by our words that we have more influence than perhaps we do, and we are lulled into a false sense of self-importance by the fact that lazy journalists tend to resort to us instead of the rather harder job of finding out what non-blogging members and supporters think. Perhaps if some of us took a step back and gave some thought as to what we actually hope to achieve, we might come across as more-rounded human beings than we might currently do*...

* This is not, I repeat not, intended to be an attack on any individual blogger. No, really, it isn't...

2 comments:

Steph Ashley said...

I wonder how la Dale finds time to do anything else, with his ubiquitous and prolific presence online. When he's not pouring out sixteen million mediocre blog posts a day, he's scouring the web for references to himself or TP (ha! I only just noticed it has the same abbreviation as toilet paper!) and being all touchy about them.

He even came along to have a go at me, when I dared to say last month that I thought it was a bit lame that so many Lib Dems care so much what he has to say. And I am going to indulge in a bit of inverse blog-snobbery and say Mark that I am significantly less important than yow - in fact my blog is little more than my own private amusement and attracts a whopping(snerk) 30 to 100 readers a day.

I find his enormous and terribly fragile ego quite sweet sometimes!

Jennie said...

Fashion in politics? Twinkletoes Vince cuts something of a dash, with his hats...

As for blogging... I think the best bloggers, the ones who are most interesting to read, are the ones who do it because they don't really hope to achieve ANYTHING, more than getting their thoughts down and interacting with other people. I find bloggers with an agenda incredibly irritating and/or boring, whether it's hidden or not. Hence why I don't read the sainted Mr Dale or any of his self-aggrandising mates. Although these days I do seem to end up talking about him a lot...