Miliband's blog is bad news for New Labour's online comms
Even if Miliband's blog doesn't cost £1 a word, the fiasco over his blog gives plenty for New Labour's communications team to be concerned about.
Maybe I shouldn't have been surprised to hear that David Milliband's blog being accused of being a bit of a social media sham.
Someone told me a while back it was common knowledge in Westminster that David Milliband didn't really blog himself. I must say his team has done a good job of doing an impression of a person blogging if that's true - it's partly fooled me.
According to accusations from Liberal Democrat Chris Huhne - reported in the Independent's Pandora column - the likely cost of the blog is £40,000 a year, including a great deal of support from civil servants. Support? For what?
Ellee Seymour is righteously angry about it - she is a Conservative supporter, and you'd expect her to be.
However, according to a report in the Journal today, Miliband denies this estimate:
"We are trying to bed down the ongoing administration costs as we speak but we know that they are going to be less than 10% of an existing junior civil servant's time. It's nothing like £40,000. This speculation is pure silliness and completely unrealistic."
Mr Huhne said he came to the figure after tabling Parliamentary questions on the manpower involved in maintaining the site. He was told two members of staff employed by Defra had recently dedicated as much as 40% of their office time working on it.
Whoever's right, however much it cost, what rings hollow for me is that the man isn't discussing these allegations on his blog. What kind of a blogger puts out a press statement and doesn't defend themselves online? And what kind of blogger needs a team to back him up for his blog? And now I think of it, I cut it from my RSS feed list a while back because it was too boring.
None of this bodes well for Labour's communications in the online age - Miliband was their great ministerial blogging hope. I'll stand by the "generals fighting the last war" metaphor for the time being.
Maybe innovation and risk-taking in communications is something that only happens to parties that are out of power.