WORK on And another thing… version 4.0 is continuing apace. I’ve pencilled in “some time next week” as the not-very-helpful-or-specific date for the launch.
So now seems as good a time as any to explain how we got to the number four.
And another thing… started out as a daily column on my old parliamentary website back in 2006. In those days I had no real idea what a blog actually was; I had never heard of an RSS feed and I wasn’t aware of the necessity to allow comments and to interact with readers.
Anyway, I chuntered on, archiving each day’s comment for easy access for the few people who were interested. My attempts to have my “blog” featured on other sites, like Bloggers4Labour, in order to attract more traffic, were met with (in retrospect, perfectly understandable) indifference.
Then, just after I was made a minister in September 2006, I hired an intern. I will spare his blushes; let me just say that of all the applicants for this upaid post, he was the one who most impressed me because he had the bottle to tell me, during his interview, that he favoured reintroducing the eleven-plus! Such chutzpah should be rewarded, thought I. He found himself hired, and a few weeks later, he set up a WordPress.com account for me, complete with the cartoon illustration you can see at the top of this page. So that was version 2. The intern, meanwhile, has gone on to bigger and better things. We haven’t heard the last of him.
I enjoyed blogging right from the start, and I had just started to attract some attention as a blogging minister when I came a bit of a cropper. I won’t go into too many details, but I discovered that a senior member of the government didn’t share my online sense of humour, and I decided it might be better for my ministerial career if I gave up the blogging altogether.
So what made me want to restart in March 2008? Some might say a self-destructive streak – who knows? But it was at about the same time that I relaunched my parliamentary site and I thought: “Well, why not?” That question was answered three months later, but I persevered anyway. I was – and remain – convinced that MPs should engage, not just lecture.
So, anyway, you’re reading And another thing… Mark 3 at the moment. I figured that, if I’m going to take this blogging lark seriously, then I should have a site that’s bespoke and which offers more flexibility on content than the (admittedly excellent) free site from WordPress.com. It will also have a new URL, which anyone looking for this site will be redirected to (I hope).
Anyhoo, only a matter of days now. No doubt you will not be slow in coming forwards with your comments and criticisms. I’ll post again as soon as I have a more specific time.