Version 4.0

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 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 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.


Filed under Blogging

19 responses to “Version 4.0

  1. wrinkled weasel

    Keep it up. You aim high and you are honest. I like that.

  2. wrinkled weasel

    and another thing. Where is your “Prisoner” tribute?

  3. Thanks for the reminder (although I promised a Patrick McGoohan tribute, not a Prisoner one).

  4. Andrew F

    😦 I love this place.

  5. You’ll love the new place more, I promise… Now don’t start, you’ll have me crying as well…

  6. As long as you don’t write another piece for Dolly, I’ll be happy to read the 4.0 version.

  7. Excellent news although watch out, the new Facebook sparked riots!

  8. Tom, interesting to know you are moving on from WordPress. Lets see what your new blog comes as! If you don’t mind can you add me a link to the blog roll?

  9. Jay

    Would someone be kind enough to explain to me what an RSS feed is as I’m an IT illiterate and it seems to be something that’s important in the world of blogging (judging by the flak given to D. Draper for problems with the feed on his new blog).

  10. ani

    Don’t make it too fiddly to navigate will you Tom?
    I used to like Sky and CiF till they changed the format.
    I can’t be doing with all that clicking, white space and loading.
    If it ain’t broke…

  11. Irfan @ 5.43pm: I’m not moving on from WordPress – just moving from to

  12. I’m a big WordPress advocate (OK, geek). I’d be genuinely interested to hear more reasons why you’re moving away from a maintained, upgraded, hosted WP solution to a bespoke solution, and what you hope to gain from it.

    BTW, what category of MPs expenses does blog development come under?

  13. OK, I should have read Irfan’s comment first! Glad to see you’re still sticking with WP.

  14. pr roger j clementine iii cbe

    Tam, this is an absolute disgrace, typical of this oh so politically correct nanny-state government!

    Let’s just say that the voters of Glasgow Wherever It Is Your Seat Is, will have their say at the election!!!1!!eleven!1

  15. John @ 6.43pm: “BTW, what category of MPs expenses does blog development come under?”

    The new site will cost you, the taxpayer, exactly the same as the current one: nothing. I do hope that’s acceptable to you, John.

  16. Totally, Tom, totally.

    Not that I would mind at all, I think this type of communication with your constituents (and those in the blogosphere who aren’t blessed by physical proximity to Shawlands Arcade) is well worth a few tax euros poonds.

  17. Auntie Flo'

    “So what made me want to restart in March 2008? Some might say a self-destructive streak – who knows?”

    The inner compulsion to communicate with us great unwashed and to try to tell the truth is not self destructive, it’s indicative of common decency and an instinctive democratic impulse.

    Perhaps it’s also indicative of someone who is not a politician at heart. God knows we need more politicians like that.

    Good for you, Tom.

    And remember this old song:

    “Come gather ’round people
    Wherever you roam
    And admit that the waters
    Around you have grown
    And accept it that soon
    You’ll be drenched to the bone.
    If your time to you
    Is worth savin’
    Then you better start swimmin’
    Or you’ll sink like a stone
    For the times they are a-changin’.

    Come writers and critics
    Who prophesize with your pen
    And keep your eyes wide
    The chance won’t come again
    And don’t speak too soon
    For the wheel’s still in spin
    And there’s no tellin’ who
    That it’s namin’.
    For the loser now
    Will be later to win
    For the times they are a-changin’.

    Come senators, congressmen
    Please heed the call
    Don’t stand in the doorway
    Don’t block up the hall
    For he that gets hurt
    Will be he who has stalled
    There’s a battle outside
    And it is ragin’.
    It’ll soon shake your windows
    And rattle your walls
    For the times they are a-changin’.

    Come mothers and fathers
    Throughout the land
    And don’t criticize
    What you can’t understand
    Your sons and your daughters
    Are beyond your command
    Your old road is
    Rapidly agin’.
    Please get out of the new one
    If you can’t lend your hand
    For the times they are a-changin’.

    The line it is drawn
    The curse it is cast
    The slow one now
    Will later be fast
    As the present now
    Will later be past
    The order is
    Rapidly fadin’.
    And the first one now
    Will later be last
    For the times they are a-changin’.”

    Great song

  18. Donkey Kong

    WordPress is crap. Blogger all the way. 😉

  19. John

    “If you don’t mind can you add me a link to the blog roll?”

    Steady on Irfan! Stop being so predatory! I don’t think i’ve seen you comment on anyone’s blog without asking for a referral link! Haha! Blogroll’s are meant to be a list of the blogs that you actually read, not free advertising for anyone trying to generate traffic. Just an FYI 😉

    “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.”

    That’s awful. I hope one day you reveal who that person was Tom. Not only are they completely out of touch, but they are also unable to identify a good thing when they see it. Explains why they reached such a senior position within this government though….

    I can imagine how the conversation went when they found out about your blog actually:

    Minion: “Minister! Minister! There’s a problem…”
    Minister/Davros: “Come on then lad, spit it out.”
    Minion: “It’s one of your MP’s Sir/Maam, they’re….they’re engaging with the electorate!”
    Minister/Davros: “GOOD LORD!”
    Minion: “It’s worse than that Sir/Maam! They are coming across positivly AND reflecting well on the Labour Party!”
    Minister/Davros: *LOOK OF SHEER TERROR*
    Minion: “In fact, someone commented the other day, and I quote, “Out of 356 Labour MP’s, we can now be sure that at least one isn’t a tosser”
    Minister/Davros: *FAINTS*


    Anyway, I look forward to the new blog Tom. Just don’t cheap out on the hosting! With the traffic you get, cheap hosting will be as stable as a house of cards in a sandstorm 😦

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