Yesterday I opted out of Iain Dale’s blogging poll. The poll, which he runs every year, produces various top 10 style lists – all of which come with a button that you can use on your blog to advertise your success and link back to his Total Politics site. I reckon I was in with a good shout of placing well in the ‘Conservative Councillors called James’ category.

I would hasten to add I’m not participating in any boycott. While I don’t read his blog or follow him on Twitter I can’t say I share any of the dislike of his politics or personality that seem to motivate some of them. My opinions of him are, well, non-existent.

Instead, I just dislike the rather self-congratulatory nature of these things. They lend themselves to hubris and focus on entirely the wrong aspects of blogging. Over the weekend during some casual surfing, I came across one blogger who, having got hold of a top 100 list in which their blog featured managed to sub-categorise and slice the list to ‘prove’ that they were among the top 10 most influential blogs in the country.

I don’t really want to be part of that.

Yes, it’s nice to know that people appreciate what you are doing. And perhaps if it were a Wandsworth based poll I might think differently. But I’m not blogging to do well in some league table. I’m blogging – primarily – as a councillor. My focus shouldn’t be, and isn’t, on getting Iain Dale’s attention. Instead, it’s here to provide something of a service to residents.

So, feeling smug about my decision fate mocked me when I discovered that Andrew Beeken, the web manager at Lincon City Council, had used me as an example of good practice in a presentation to councillors there. From further conversation, I discovered that I’ve even been cited in Australia.

Flattering, ego-massaging stuff. And fate giving me a ticking off for being pompous earlier.

It might be a bit different being used as an example of how a councillor can engage to featuring in an arbitrary poll but what really matters is that I am, I hope, providing a good service to people in Wandsworth – if I can entertain a little or get a wider readership outside then so much the better.

Which begs the question – which I ask from time to time – is there anything you want to tell me, ask me or berate me about my online engagement? Anything you want to see more of, less of or even nothing of? Something you’d like to see on here that I’m not doing already? Just let me know, because at the end it’s not about me, my ego or arbitrary rankings – it’s about you and how I can better serve you as a councillor.

Feel free to comment, email me at or send me an @message on Twitter.

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