Iain Dale has been complaining about how much government blogs cost to run – see his breakdown of the costs of David Miliband’s blog [link to the blog], and complaint about the DWP Welfare Reform and Child Poverty blog [link to the blog].
The costs of both blogs are in largest part due to the staff costs to keep the sites running, but there is a wider issue here: why would anyone actually want to read a government blog? By definition all the content is going to be is a regurgitation of government policy, and in both cases highlighted the blogs are not really riveting. This all stands in stark contrast to the blog I have just launched for Harriet Harman. First of all the programming costs were nil (I volunteered), we used open source software (Wordpress), and a team of volunteers keep an eye on the forums. Perhaps most importantly, the blog is party political – it’s not the government line – and hence it should prove to be more appealing. Political blogs and forums can work, they can be fun – look at DÃ©sirs d’Avenir – and eventually the Labour Party should learn the tricks.