Dizzy leads the way...

As one of the political bloggers breaks as story that gets picked up in the mainstream plus a row ab

A leading political blogger known as Dizzy, was driving the news agenda this week with the likes of Channel 4 and The Times lapping up his wake.

On his blog, Dizzy Thinks, he broke the story on Wednesday of the first signs of Gordon Brown’s leadership campaign. The production company Silverfish TV, responsible for the 'Dave the Chameleon' advert, has bought the web address.

Silverfish TV have said they are not working for Gordon Brown or the Treasury and merely bought it for when he officially declared his candidacy.
Channel 4 ran the story and said they had discovered the story. They hadn’t. The Times also ran it but at least they didn't claim it was their exclusive.

Credit has to be given to bloggers who break stories. Guido Fawkes raised this point when he took on Michael White and Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight two weeks ago - documented by my colleague on this blog review.

Dizzy also reported this week how a landmark ruling in the courts could mean that bosses who monitor their staff’s emails could be breaking European laws. This article highlights the need for companies to have properly drawn up usage policies for their employees email accounts, otherwise they may be breaching European human rights laws.

Kamm's article
on the Guardian's Comment is Free blog caused quite a stir this week. Kamm claims political blogs are full of errors and that they "poison healthy debate."

One reaction to the article came from Luke Akehurst who said: "But attacking political blogging as a medium because you don't like Guido is about as rational as attacking all political coverage in newspapers because you don't like Richard Littlejohn." He might just have a point.

And in response to Kamm's piece, DocSilver said: "As blogs mature, and the more irresponsible are winnowed out by the rather Darwinian process of operating in an unsheltered environment, the quality of what is offered has steadily increased."

Adam Haigh studies on the postgraduate journalism diploma at Cardiff University. Last year he lived in Honduras and worked freelance for the newspaper, Honduras This Week.
Grant Shapps on the campaign trail. Photo: Getty
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Grant Shapps resigns over Tory youth wing bullying scandal

The minister, formerly party chairman, has resigned over allegations of bullying and blackmail made against a Tory activist. 

Grant Shapps, who was a key figure in the Tory general election campaign, has resigned following allegations about a bullying scandal among Conservative activists.

Shapps was formerly party chairman, but was demoted to international development minister after May. His formal statement is expected shortly.

The resignation follows lurid claims about bullying and blackmail among Tory activists. One, Mark Clarke, has been accused of putting pressure on a fellow activist who complained about his behaviour to withdraw the allegation. The complainant, Elliot Johnson, later killed himself.

The junior Treasury minister Robert Halfon also revealed that he had an affair with a young activist after being warned that Clarke planned to blackmail him over the relationship. Former Tory chair Sayeedi Warsi says that she was targeted by Clarke on Twitter, where he tried to portray her as an anti-semite. 

Shapps appointed Mark Clarke to run RoadTrip 2015, where young Tory activists toured key marginals on a bus before the general election. 

Today, the Guardian published an emotional interview with the parents of 21-year-old Elliot Johnson, the activist who killed himself, in which they called for Shapps to consider his position. Ray Johnson also spoke to BBC's Newsnight:


The Johnson family claimed that Shapps and co-chair Andrew Feldman had failed to act on complaints made against Clarke. Feldman says he did not hear of the bullying claims until August. 

Asked about the case at a conference in Malta, David Cameron pointedly refused to offer Shapps his full backing, saying a statement would be released. “I think it is important that on the tragic case that took place that the coroner’s inquiry is allowed to proceed properly," he added. “I feel deeply for his parents, It is an appalling loss to suffer and that is why it is so important there is a proper coroner’s inquiry. In terms of what the Conservative party should do, there should be and there is a proper inquiry that asks all the questions as people come forward. That will take place. It is a tragic loss of a talented young life and it is not something any parent should go through and I feel for them deeply.” 

Mark Clarke denies any wrongdoing.

Helen Lewis is deputy editor of the New Statesman. She has presented BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster and is a regular panellist on BBC1’s Sunday Politics.