Today it was announced that Riverbend, the author of Baghdad Burning, has been longlisted for a £30,000 Literary Award.  This follows on from the critical acclaim for the somewhat less worthy Belle de Jour.  Congratulations to the anonymous bloggers.

The other high profile arrival in the blogging world is very much not anonymous.  Rt Hon David Miliband MP, Minister of Communities and Local Government, has pressed the "Go Live" button on his blog.  So far, so good it seems to me.  It is clearly written by the man himself (or hats off to the ghost writer doing a brilliant job) and the comments section has not been heavily edited or "astroturfed" as some previous "conversations" have been.

A lot of comments focussed on the issue of using ODPM’s resources for a Minister to blog when he could have used a free service like Blogger.  There are two issues.  The restrictions on talking politics that he feels are imposed upon him are not good for the conversation but will inevitably mean more focus on his role as Local Government Minister rather than as a Labour Politician which I expect is the intention.  Secondly the cost which David tried to deflect with some transparency today by clarifying that it only cost £200 for the software and £6,000 for the design, configuration and integration into the ODPM site.  I expect this made some eyes water in the blogosphere.  After all the Political Weblog Project has offered to do all that for MPs for a tenth of that sum.

All said and done a blogging minister is great news.  Welcome.


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