As one of those shortlisted for one of last night's awards (best blog by a Liberal Democrat holding public office), I was somewhat disappointed to see the comments from one of Woking's finest which, I fear, smacked of bitterness. The accusation that the Awards are an opportunity for the Liberal Democrat Voice team to 'reward its friends' is a pretty serious one so, as someone who has worked with them in the past, has written for them too, but isn't actually part of the team, perhaps I should contribute a response.
|Ros's 2008 BOTY for best use of social networking|
Firstly, a declaration of interest. As mentioned, I have written for Liberal Democrat Voice in the past, predominantly on issues relating to the internal bureaucracy of the Party, and mostly because I'm one of the Party's very few bloggers who specialises in such stuff. I've generally used LDV as a means to convey information or report back on events - you would be amazed at how difficult it is to do so by any other means as an elected representative. I am, technically, the bureaucracy correspondent - Mark Pack asked me to do it, I contributed three pieces and then, to be blunt, lost interest (it really is fearfully dull for the most part). I've also been guest editor for the day - I might even do it again one day, if I can be organised enough, and they'll have me.
And yet, I have never won an award. If Lisa is right, I should feel pretty hard done by. I've been blogging for six years, been shortlisted three times, once for best post and now twice for best blog by a Liberal Democrat holding public office. C'est la vie, as they say. Frankly, I'm rather surprised to have been nominated at all - I wouldn't describe myself as a blogger who sets the heather on fire, more someone who is broadly respected as a stalwart denizen of the Liberal Democrat blogosphere.
I assume that the judges, a fairly diverse crew this year as in years past, express their views and have a system that synthesises those views into a final outcome. If Stephen Tall is to be believed, and despite his occasionally shocking taste in outfits, and excessive displays of chest hair, I tend to, they actually do. And, their decision is final, no matter how personally disappointing I may find that (and I certainly wouldn't turn down an award if one came my way).
I don't attack those people who do win. Indeed, even if their blog is not to my personal taste, I like to think that I can admire the quality of the writing, or recognise the influence that they have had. It is also entirely legitimate to disagree with the decision of the judges - it is, at the end of the day, their decision and not yours or mine. But to slag off a winner in such personal terms because you don't like them very much, or you find their work boring, is the height of boorishness. It is also entirely hypocritical to slag someone off and then deny them the right to reply, only to report on your rather biased interpretation of their response.
Lisa won't like this, I suspect. She'll probably be rather rude in response. But then, people can be in cyberspace - I perhaps have a better grasp of that than most. And, to her credit, she is at least rude in person, rather than hiding behind a pseudonym. It isn't much credit though, and her behaviour is hardly pitched in such a way as to make me warm to her. It does reassure me, however, that she won't care about that one jot...