Friday, May 01, 2009

As Spike Said To Mr Justice Caulfield

See, I take a post-conference break from blogging for some application form-related torture and the Welsh blogosphere decides to set itself on fire. And while peace has broken out on some fronts (something I'm all in favour of) there's clearly some outstanding business to be attended to.

So, for the wilfully ignorant and the plain stupid alike, let me restate the position in words of as few syllables as possible; there's nothing wrong with attack blogs that stick to known facts and public statements and there's nothing wrong with party staffers and Assembly Member Support Staff blogging. But when Plaid staff and AMSS blog on Welsh Ramblings and Guerilla Welsh-Fare, they do so anonymously in the worst attempt at astroturfing since the Metrodome; when Lib Dem staff do so at Freedom Central, they sign their bloody names to it! Honestly, what part of anonymous are you not able to understand here?

Either way, the whole saga brings my thoughts round to a matter I've been mulling for a few months, namely the difficulties of linking in the Welsh blogosphere. When the new Blogger template came along with its blog list widget, it seemed churlish not to make use of it and as at the time I was only listing my Liberal Democrat favourites, using authors real names was more aesthetically pleasing and fairly easy to achieve. When a Welsh Lib Dem list became necessary (in the days before WelshLibDemBlogs) the names were again not a problem. But now that I'm writing Y Barcud Oren, I'd like to be able to provide my non-Welsh readership with a decent selection from the rest of the Welsh blogosphere, and that's a more difficult proposition.

For starters, much as the real names are an aesthetic choice, there is something to be said in a democratic society for standing up and being counted. Sure, there are some people who do have a legitimate reason for pseudonymity (and that does not include Julian Lewis who continues to waste Parliament's time bleating on about how vital it is that his home address not be published lest he be assassinated by the militant wing of CND...) but they are generally up front about it, something I'm not aware of any of Wales' pseudonymous crowd having been (though I'm happy to be corrected on that point).

And even in the world of the identifiable, there are limitations. I won't, for example, link to blogs by current, former or future AMs or MPs of other parties; they can waste taxpayer's money advertising their own bits of electronic real estate without me using my turf to help them out. And in any case, it's not as if I'd recommend any of the current blogs in those categories because of the brilliance of their intellect or the soaring power of their rhetoric...

There's always the journalists to fill out a few slots and I'm not unhappy to have them there as I tend to think they're all right as bloggers; the problem is that some of them are a heck of a lot better as bloggers than they are as journalists and even that often isn't saying much... Beyond that, there's Dylan Jones-Evans (who I grant an exception as his academic standing outweighs his party affiliation) Alwyn ap Huw, Ian James Johnson and... well...

So I don't know. If anyone can recommend someone I've missed I'm happy to check them out, but I've done plenty of trawling of other people's blogrolls with very little to show for it. That lack of talent willing to stick its head above the parapet doesn't say much for the "Ie Gallen Ni" generation.

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