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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 August 2005, 10:47 GMT 11:47 UK
Wales@Westminster newslog

It's Wales@Westminster weblog, BBC Wales' Parliamentary correspondent David Cornock's diary on political life.

Thursday, 4 August

Blog standard

posted by David | 1140 BST |

A belated postscript to the battle of the blogs between Welsh assembly members. You may recall how Leighton Andrews, Labour assembly member for Rhondda was fighting it out with Liberal Democrat AM Peter Black to win nominations for the New Statesman new media awards.

Leighton was nominated partly for his writings on Cardiff City while Peter offered "an insight into the work of the Welsh assembly and an assembly member".

Leighton, nominated by several fellow Bluebirds fans, took a swipe at Peter nominating himself.

The judges have now had their say on the award for the elected representative who best uses new media technology to communicate with the electorate. It is not good news for either Leighton or Peter. In fact, it is not good news for politicians generally. The adjudication follows.

"For the first time in the history of the New Statesman New Media Awards, the judges have decided not to award a winner in this category.

"After much discussion and thought, they agreed that none of the shortlisted nominations deserved the accolade. Some of the elected representatives have made massive efforts in creating an interesting online presence.

"But it was recognised that they have done so with little official help, and mostly by being in a fortunate enough position to draw upon the technical and communication skills required.

"The result is a postcode lottery for citizens who wish to discover and communicate with their elected representatives online.

"There have been some efforts to redress this balance: ReadMyDay http://www.readmyday.co.uk and Councillor.info http://www.councillor.info are just two examples. But there is still more that needs to be done.

"The judges believe that elected representatives need more support, training and advice to help them use this media more effectively. In doing so there is a real opportunity for the UK to lead the way in communication between the representative and the represented."

A bit unfair, perhaps, given that Messrs Andrews and Black do offer an insight into their working lives that isn't available elsewhere. Better luck next year, chaps.

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