Bloggers come good

There's an election going on, don't you know?

To my knowledge the May 3 elections was the first time bloggers provided the public with up-to-the-minute updates as the votes were counted across England, Wales and Scotland. But in Scotland it was an election marred by controversy, something the blogosphere will not let go unheard.

18 Doughty Street provided a live internet broadcast as polls closed, whilst Iain Dale blogged through the night as votes were counted.

He was troubled however, by the apparent knowledge of the Labour Party in Scotland who were telling people the results of postal votes before the main voting had even begun. Electoral law prevents the release of information on postal votes before polling has closed.

The political correspondents across the mainstream news networks were also blogging away keeping the voters on top of the latest developments.

Nick Robinson, political editor of the BBC, alerted us to the problem of spoiled ballot papers in Scotland – this will keep bubbling throughout the week no doubt. It appears voters were confused by how to fill in the different parts of the paper. Scottish voters had two votes for the parliament and a separate vote for the local elections.

The Blamerbell Briefs blog kept us on top of development in the Welsh Assembly Government elections. For someone who said he: “returned home to have a bash at being a journalist and as an almost accidental consequence, a Welsh political blogger,” he should be commended.

And finally, do you remember that candidate in Bristol who used Photoshop on an election leaflet to make it look like he was somewhere when he simply wasn’t. Well he got beaten by the Lib Dems. So I guess he is the one with the egg on his face.

As the remaining votes are counted these elections look set to generate more movement in the blogosphere. Tune in next week for the update.

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.
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Theresa May is paying the price for mismanaging Boris Johnson

The Foreign Secretary's bruised ego may end up destroying Theresa May. 

And to think that Theresa May scheduled her big speech for this Friday to make sure that Conservative party conference wouldn’t be dominated by the matter of Brexit. Now, thanks to Boris Johnson, it won’t just be her conference, but Labour’s, which is overshadowed by Brexit in general and Tory in-fighting in particular. (One imagines that the Labour leadership will find a way to cope somehow.)

May is paying the price for mismanaging Johnson during her period of political hegemony after she became leader. After he was betrayed by Michael Gove and lacking any particular faction in the parliamentary party, she brought him back from the brink of political death by making him Foreign Secretary, but also used her strength and his weakness to shrink his empire.

The Foreign Office had its responsibility for negotiating Brexit hived off to the newly-created Department for Exiting the European Union (Dexeu) and for navigating post-Brexit trade deals to the Department of International Trade. Johnson was given control of one of the great offices of state, but with no responsibility at all for the greatest foreign policy challenge since the Second World War.

Adding to his discomfort, the new Foreign Secretary was regularly the subject of jokes from the Prime Minister and cabinet colleagues. May likened him to a dog that had to be put down. Philip Hammond quipped about him during his joke-fuelled 2017 Budget. All of which gave Johnson’s allies the impression that Johnson-hunting was a licensed sport as far as Downing Street was concerned. He was then shut out of the election campaign and has continued to be a marginalised figure even as the disappointing election result forced May to involve the wider cabinet in policymaking.

His sense of exclusion from the discussions around May’s Florence speech only added to his sense of isolation. May forgot that if you aren’t going to kill, don’t wound: now, thanks to her lost majority, she can’t afford to put any of the Brexiteers out in the cold, and Johnson is once again where he wants to be: centre-stage. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.