Does Hazel Blears want us to blog or not?
As Communities Secretary Hazel Blears presides over a Department which supposedly encourages councillors to start their own blogs. I understand the Department's guidance to Town Hall is that if a councillor starts a blog this is to be encouraged with the address being publicised by the Council and some modest technical assistance being available.
But in her speech to the Hansard Society last week she attacked blogging saying "it fuelled a culture of cynicism and despair." She denounced my fair minded, good humoured and public spirited old friend Guido Fawkes despite, or perhaps because, of his considerable success in breaking stories then followed up in print (or "stolen" as he genially puts it.) Speaking in the most intemperate of terms Blears has denounced him as offering "viscous nihilism."
I suppose what will end up happening is bloggers offered subsidies by her Department provided that, in her terms, they "add value." At least she didn't warn Guido he was "drinking in the last chance saloon." She doesn't appear to have the most basic grasp of what a free society is about.