The blogosphere is not like the world of print or broadcast media: it’s far more fluid, with folks coming and going on a daily basis. Even the best known practitioners leave the stage on occasion, and yesterday was the turn of Iain Dale.
And at the outset I have a disclosure to make: when I started Zelo Street back in March last year, the first blog I looked at was Iain’s. That’s not to say that I intended to imitate or borrow from him, merely that his blog was a good place to start, to get an idea of this new “art of the possible”.
Since then, I have read the Dale blog and many others, and very occasionally commented there. Iain has, on just the one occasion, mentioned this blog in his Daley Dozen. And there the similarities end: Zelo Street has been mentioned, and its posts featured, far more regularly on Liberal Conspiracy, and this has shown me Iain’s less amenable side.
In his post confirming that he is bowing out of the blogosphere, Iain tells that “I hate the backbiting that goes ... with it. I hate the character assassination”, but he has not been free of this trait in his dealings with Liberal Conspiracy’s Sunny Hundal. Nor has he been shy of personal attacks on any number of those of divergent political stance, particularly those who fail to support his preferred party.
And Iain has shown a reluctance to own up when he makes mistakes: I don’t recall him rowing back from his assertion some time ago that Northern Rock was involved in the US sub-prime mortgage business. More recently, his suggestion that Ken Livingstone had personally allowed French to be the official language of the 2012 Olympics was daft and he should have said so. But he didn’t.
So when the tributes are made – and in typically immodest fashion, the Dale blog links to some of these today – the thought might be borne in mind that Iain Dale is just one of thousands of bloggers. Some, like him, have decided to move on to pastures new. Given he now has a weekday radio show to look after, as well as other business interests, his decision looks sound.
There will be other bloggers on the right leaning part of the blogosphere to occupy the space Iain has left. The world will move on. As the Buddha and George Harrison might have said, all things must pass.