Should bloggers have a code of conduct? Would you appreciate it if a blog had one?
Of course, this is not a new subject and it’s certainly one that divides opinions, particularly in the context of the many political blogs out there, which are written by activists, journalists and politicians alike – and which often attract very virulent and partisan commenters (to say the very least).
The idea of a code of conduct is certainly something that interests me, despite the fact that Another Kind Of Mind is different in that it is not solely a political blog (although there’s certainly a lot of politics to be found here). I have, however, long had quite a few informal but important rules I follow when blogging, whether I’m writing about politics or not (see below).
Regular readers will be aware that I’m not a great fan of politicians generally. However, there are the odd one or two who somehow manage, against all the odds, to stick to their principles and hold firm in the face of our deluded political system, and it is they who have my respect and (in some cases) even grudging admiration.
Michael Foot, whose death at the age of 96 was announced today, was one such who fell into that latter category. A left-wing politician of the old school, who – unlike today’s rabble – was an idealist and a principled man, Foot was one of those rare politicians who did genuinely manage to stick to those principles, right until the end of his long and eventful life.
Like a lot of Labour politicians and commentators of his generation, Foot came from a relatively privileged background. Born into a Liberal and non-conformist family at Plymouth in July 1913, politics were almost a part of his genetic make up; his father was twice elected MP for a Cornish constituency, his three brothers were all involved in Liberal politics, and Foot himself became a Socialist during his time studying at Oxford.
The importance of those Socialist beliefs were forcefully brought home to him after his graduation when he spent some time working as a shipping clerk in Liverpool; an experience which exposed him to the realities of contemporary poverty and the social inequalities that were part of many ordinary people’s everyday lives. It was here, in 1934, that he joined the Labour Party and determined he would stand for Parliament.