11/05/2007

A Public Apology…

… to Oliver Heald MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs.

Four posts ago, I wrote a distinctly sceptical response to a comment from Oliver Heald on my post about the report of the Consitutional Affairs Committee on the legal aid reforms. In that response, I a) doubted it came from Oliver Heald in person, b) suggested it was an example of developments in party campaigning and c) doubted I’d get any response.

In what is, in the circumstances, a distinctly good humoured and reasonable reply, Oliver Heald today commented on that post as follows:

I personally posted some comments on a few blogs after the Select Committee report. This was not to recruit new voters – although they are always welcome – but to give support to legal aid lawyers so they know their concerns are being heard. Blogs are very useful in campaigning , as I discovered when we were battling against the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill last year.

At Parliament, we are continually raising the legal aid issue.

Oliver Heald MP

Damn. That is me bang to rights.

In mitigation, I can only say that it struck me as highly unlikely that my readership, august and esteemed though it is, would include the Shadow Secretary, or that the Shadow Secretary would be trawling the law blogs in person.

I would like to apologise to Mr Heald for any and all elements of that post that cast doubt upon his authorship of the comment and upon the motives of the commentor.

I place the blame entirely on watching too many episodes of “In the thick of it“.

That said, I remain convinced that party political sourced comments on issue based blog posts will be a developing issue. It has been in the States and already to a limited extent here, but the sophistication involved will grow.

I am delighted to find that the Shadow Secretary is more of an old style campaigner in web 2.0 form. And would also like to say blimey, the Shadow Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs reads my blog (on occasion).

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.

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