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Derek Draper and how NOT to blog

Oh what a tangled web...
Sunday 12 April 2009.

Earlier I mentioned the inept conniving of two left-wing Labour party spinners in the UK to counteract the influence of some very successful right-wing bloggers by setting up their own ‘rumour’ blog. I now see that one of those successful right-wing bloggers (Iain Dale) has just written a piece explaining what you should and should not do if you want to write a successful political blog.

Derek Draper is one of the two men involved in a plan to smear top members of the opposition Conservative party in the UK by blogging lurid and unfounded stories suggesting various improprieties, predominantly of a sexual nature. Their plan was found out and their nasty little emails have been filling the pages of the UK newspapers today.

As I said before, the thing that baffles me is the sheer, staggering incompetence of their plans to create a muck-raking blog in cahoots with one another in the expectation that nobody would ever guess what they were up to.

Iain Dale says that he actually offered blogging advice to Derek Draper some months back: “I explained to him patiently the pitfalls of the internet. Indeed, I had to be very patient indeed as his knowledge of online matters was only slightly superior to that of my 78-year-old mother, who has never touched a computer in her life.”

But Draper ignored Dale’s advice. “His blog authors all came from his contacts book. The site contained few articles that could not have been written in Labour Party HQ, and there was precious little grassroots input. He was accused of censoring comments and using the site as a vehicle for his own giant-sized ego.

As LabourList [Draper’s blog] started to tank, he looked for help elsewhere. And he set his sights on Damian McBride, the Prime Minister’s Director of Strategy.”

Read Dale’s article in the Telegraph newspaper. If you have any ambitions to write a blog of any political complexion you would do well to study this first.

It is curious that while many of the best newspaper journalists in the UK are left leaning, the better bloggers, with only a few notable exceptions, are predominantly right wing. I am not entirely sure why that is so. I only hope that the shenanigans of McBride and Draper act as a shining example of what not to do and encourage some other writers to have a go. Come on. It really wouldn’t be too hard to do a better job of it...

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