Dominic Raab, MP – the ‘Quiet Man’ of Political Blogging

Dominic Raab The Hansard Society is an important organisation which promotes political participation.

It states: ‘Civic society is most effective when its citizens are connected with the institutions and individuals who represent them in the democratic process… There has never been more urgency for Parliament to engage with the public.’

It is clear that blogs, Twitter and Facebook can be used to enhance political participation and civic engagement. And there are plenty of ‘honourable’ examples of MPs (see what I did there) who have created blogs that are not only popular, but are important tools in allowing citizens to communicate and engage in politics.

Comments, yes please…

Regular blogger Lynne Featherstone, a Lib Dem who recently voted to triple tuition fees, has been provoking a lot of comments online. She produces a ‘popular’ blog (if being ‘popular’ is defined as being hated by a large section of your constituency) and some of her posts have well over 100 comments beneath. But fair play to her, even the most critical comments (and there are a lot) appear quickly on the site, once they have been moderated.

Lynne comes in at respectable no.8  in the Total Politics Top 30 MPs Blogs.

Another example of good blogging is that carried out by Labour MP, Tom Watson. Described as:  ‘A politician who has acquired far more prominence as a blogger and tweeter than he did as a minister.’ (Steve Richards, The Independent, 16th Dec).

Shhh! Don’t disturb the ‘Quiet Man’ of blogging

Unfortunately, there are those who get it completely wrong – such as Conservative MP, Dominic Raab. Who? That’s Dominic Raab, MP for Esher and Walton. This MP has as much prominence in the blogesphere as he does on the backbench in Westminster (almost zero). Yes, we know how many times you speak-up in Parliament. They Work For You.com tells us!

This right-winger gives IDS a run for his money when it comes to the title of ‘Quiet Man’ of politics. The silence on Raab’s blog is deafening.

It seems Raab doesn’t want any of his constituents commenting on his blog at all. Oddly, he states his policy ‘is to publish all comments, unless abusive or anonymous’. So why haven’t more people posted comments? Are they all abusive? Almost none appear… just contrast Raab’s blog with Featherstone’s.

Forgive me for speculating, but perhaps it is because he filters out those comments that he just doesn’t like. Just a thought. (We’ve… ahem…done a few tests!).

Should we be surprised? Probably not.  In August, Quiet Man  told the political site, 38 Degrees, – a site that embodies the principles of the Hansard Society – to REMOVE  his contact details from its very useful ‘Contact Your MP’ system.

Apparently,Quiet Man Raab was being awoken with messages from his constituents about REALLY IMPORTANT ISSUES THAT THEY ARE CONCERNED ABOUT! However, Raab had to come clean when it was revealed that  he was getting an average of just TWO emails a day through  ‘Contact Your MP’.

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3 Responses to Dominic Raab, MP – the ‘Quiet Man’ of Political Blogging

  1. Richard Tebboth December 21, 2010 at 8:32 am #

    What a strange set of metrics!

    As one of Dom’s constituents and one of his most frequent electronic interlocutors one can only say “You cannot be serious!” particularly if one considers the length of political services of the three MPs.

    Take a look at http://domraab.blogspot.com/

    Here are some other metrics comparing the good DR with your other exemplars:-

    Google Search results

    Dom Raab MP
    About 23,600 results (0.23 seconds)
    Dominic Raab MP
    About 25,900 results (0.16 seconds)
    - MP since May 2010

    Lynne Featherstone MP
    About 45,200 results (0.17 seconds)
    - MP since May 2005

    Tom Watson MP
    About 296,000 results (0.19 seconds)
    - MP since June 2001

    Numerology – Voting records (from PublicWhip) via Theyworkforyou

    Dom Raab
    Has spoken in 28 debates in the last year — average amongst MPs.
    Has received answers to 39 written questions in the last year — average amongst MPs.
    Has voted in 79% of votes in this Parliament with this affiliation — average amongst MPs.
    People have made 2 annotations on this MP’s speeches — average amongst MPs.
    This MP’s speeches, in Hansard, are readable by an average 18–19 year old, going by the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level score.
    61 people are tracking whenever this MP speaks

    Lynne Featherstone
    Has spoken in 21 debates in the last year — average amongst MPs.
    Has received answers to 13 written questions in the last year — below average amongst MPs.
    Replied within 2 or 3 weeks to a medium number of messages sent via WriteToThem.com during 2008, according to constituents.
    Has voted in 84% of votes in this Parliament with this affiliation — above average amongst MPs.
    People have made 7 annotations on this MP’s speeches — average amongst MPs.
    This MP’s speeches, in Hansard, are readable by an average 17–18 year old, going by the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level score.
    209 people are tracking whenever this MP speaks

    Tom Watson
    Has spoken in 58 debates in the last year — well above average amongst MPs.
    Has received answers to 719 written questions in the last year — well above average amongst MPs.
    Replied within 2 or 3 weeks to a low number of messages sent via WriteToThem.com during 2008, according to constituents.
    Has voted in 45% of votes in this Parliament with this affiliation — well below average amongst MPs.
    People have made 16 annotations on this MP’s speeches — above average amongst MPs.
    This MP’s speeches, in Hansard, are readable by an average 17–18 year old, going by the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level score.
    74 people are tracking whenever this MP speaks

  2. Freelance Unbound January 16, 2011 at 7:23 pm #

    “Raab’s online profile is so low, Compete.com doesn’t think he has any visitors at all!”

    That’s probably because Compete.com uses a panel of 2 million US internet users to extrapolate its data. None of whom is likely to visit the blog of a low-profile backbench MP…

  3. admin January 16, 2011 at 9:02 pm #

    Fair point, but this doesn’t explain why Tom Watson and Lynne Featherstone have quite a large following in the US? I would like to get some metrics from the UK, but I don’t think such a site exists.

    Dominic Raab’s site may or MAY NOT have many visitors, but that’s hardly the issue. We know that a blog is a ‘conversation’, yet many MPs (and Raab is by no means the only one you can point this finger at) see it purely as a self-promotion tool. This wouldn’t matter normally, apart from the fact he is an MP and some of his constituents may want to challenge what he says on his blog and in the House

    I’m very keen to expand my test and ask more people to comment on his posts , just to see if they get published….. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.