Sunday, February 05, 2012
Witterings from Witney expresses concern that MPs, namely Douglas Carswell and Christopher Heaton-Harris, are taking advertising for their blogs. He is right to do so, but I would venture the opinion that this is no small point.
Apart from the fact that MPs are already paid from the public purse, and it seems wrong that they should then be paid again for communicating with their constituents and the public at large, it leads to the uneasy situation where, in the case of Carswell (above), he is advertising the Telegraph travel bureau advertising cruise holidays.
It is bad enough that newspapers should be actively selling products to the extent – as we pointed out - that their editorial independence is prejudiced, and seen to be so. But it then must be unacceptable that MPs are seen, effectively, to be endorsing this practice, aiding and abetting the self-same practice.
In the case of Heaton-Harris, it also leads to the absurd situation where this self-publicist is ramping up his complaint about windfarm subsidies, only to have him advertising solar panels and encouraging people to apply for a fitting grant, aka subsidy (below).
Such contradictions are the reason we cannot accept third-party advertising on this blog, and rely on the generosity of readers making donations. In the case of MPs, you would think that they also would see the pitfalls of taking advertising. But it perhaps reflects the poor judgement of this pair that they see nothing wrong in what they are doing.
Whether they do or not, though, it is unacceptable practice.