Letter for Derek
11 January, 2009
I’m so glad you’ve followed my advice and set up a blog just like I told you to. As I predicted your getting plenty of media coverage and the right is painting you as an agent of Labour HQ. No shit sherlock. There are some bloggers Jon Worth, Mike Rouse out there who have given a technical critique all I want to add is that you need a feed from Bloggers 4 Labour for the latest posts on there perhaps down the left side below the contributors. I’m not sure about keeping it in Beta for a month I think you should just get on with it. Beta schmeta. Also i’m not totally convinced by the logo though that is somewhat ephemeral.
You should resist the temptation to edit content most of the time, only style. No 2,000 word posts in neo inflected bullshitese or one line semi literate burps. If you want to say something say it yourself. Authenticity is all. Give contributors a style guide and publish it for other contributors. If you don’t get a call in the first 6 months of operations from Labour HQ telling you to stop something your not being interesting enough. Also ditch the z list links its not like they need the publicity and they will link to you for sure. You can use the space more effectively. I like the video’s. Make great use of the Miller. Not only is he excellent he makes it look less like a one man band and he has to do something useful before he takes over from Polly Toynbee when she retires.
Money: this is going to be tough. You need it but you aint got it. I reckon your looking at 40K a year minimum mostly on a couple of staff unless you want it to look more like Labourhome than Conservativehome. If you want staff with excellent technical skills then its only going to go up. Both advertisers and donators are going to be effected by the recession but if you don’t ask you don’t get. Otherwise the unions have just ditched Tribune and may be looking for something else or Lord Sainsbury although he may be harder to convince. Some constituency parties may be interested .. possibly.
Contributors: The list looks like a collection from Derek’s filofax. Nothing intrinsically wrong with that but if the site wants to end up where it wants to end up then the filofax will not be enough. There is no one from the Scottish Parliament, Whelan going fishing doesn’t count. Similarly no one from the Welsh Labour Party, surely not everyone in the Welsh assembly Labour group is going to be boring as fuck. Paul Flynn MP writes a great welsh blog even if he isn’t in the assembly. In fact I think there are more people who live abroad contributing than there are from the provinces. Sort it.
There needs to be people from outside the Labour Party who can prompt debate on topical issues. For instance Ariane Sherine from the athiest bus campaign and someone from CSM. You need someone from local government, there are a lot of local government bods in the Labour Party. I know Akehurst is a councillor but seriously what about Richard Leese leader of Manchester City Council and a titan in local government he has two blogs.
There is no one on the NEC constituency section on there. A couple of them already blog. You should invite all of them to write for the site not just interview them at NEC election time. Let it be known that you are inviting them all. Furthermore why is there no asian blogger? There are good ones out there even good ones you owe a favour to.
What about John Prescott who is going all techno geek as he gets older and what about other MP’s? Hell give a tory or lib dem a go. It’ll be fun having a go at them. Think more of the range of people you get on CiF than your mates.
Finally in the words of the incoming Whitehouse chief of staff “Don’t fuck it up”
Yours ever ….