Licenced to be a Prat

Today the sad news that Bob Piper, Labour Councillor and regular blogger has withdrawn from the fray in the wake of criticism of one of his posts.

You'll have to look elsewhere if you havn't seen it, but essentially it was a putative satirical picture of David Cameron, blacked up as a minstrel.

This brought criticism from many quarters, but the criticism was largely, I suspect, posturing for PC cred and general callithump.

Blogging is a bit like getting your first pocket money. You spend it. Doesn't matter what you spend it on, you just spend it, because you can!

Political Blogging is an emerging medium with its followers experimenting all the time with formats, etiquette and limits. These are only given an airing when they are perceived to have been broken. Blogging is emotional and immediate. It reflects another facet of the way we feel, but not necessarily what our world view is in the light of reflection and personal morality.

It is supremely ephemeral and not meant to be lasting or intrinsically profound. It can be an agent of change, leading to profound change, but in itself it is curiously impotent.

The power of political blogging is in its ability to take a very time-specific snapshot of mood among bloggers. What is said is almost secondary to the mood. Blogging is a clue-giver, a nod from an old friend, not a Bolshevik revolution.

Revolutions are run in bodies, blood and human endeavour, not in cyberspace.

Accordingly, we should give bloggers some slack. It is a playroom, a zeitgeist-o-meter, not a cudgel. Let there be a licence to be a Prat. We all do posts that we end up regretting, but then they are gone and largely forgotten.

Libels are for newpapers and national TV. Subversion is for groups who meet secretly. Politcal Blogs are for knockabout debate and the circuitious pursuit of truth and occasionally, to expose politicians to the riducule and cold light of veracity they deserve.

Please do not let the usual suspects close down this avenue of free speech.

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