BBC BLOGS - Newsnight: Paul Mason
« Previous | Main | Next »

O Brave New Blog...

Post categories:

Paul Mason | 15:14 UK time, Friday, 13 May 2011

I am about to migrate the blog yet again to a new platform; having started out as a side-of-desk operation on Typepad (see here) the BBC then set up a blogging platform on Moveable Type that went through two iterations; the first exists here and somebody is currently writing a PhD about it; the second here.

I start with these links because they will instantly become hard to find from the Newsnight main page.

To pick two of my favourite links at random, for nostalgia's sake, go here (on Sven) and here (on 7/7).

The new blog will be on in-house software that I have not yet had the pleasure of using. It will contain my Twitter feed and links to reports I have done on Newsnight. I don't know if I will be able to drop anarchically self-generated graphs and pictures into it yet - I hope so.

It will be surrounded by the page furniture of an ordinary BBC website so I will have fun trying to replicate what an actual blog includes - ie blogroll, external links, quirky animated gifs of whippets and embedded Northern Soul songs from Youtube etc.

The prose will retain its chaotic, first-draft-beta style and I will try to write in paragraphs of more than one sentence. I will continue to tweet deep links to the content. Apparently there is some rebellion going on among commenters about the proposed limitations on comments on other blogs and I leave you to it.

I will continue to cover the usual subjects: quantitative easing, English football, the London stage, the Arab Spring, the global economic crisis, all things geeky and any riot I can get safely close to.

Despite the numerous logistical challenges of the move it will be worth it as the content will now be only a few dozen clicks away from the BBC's main page. I will retain the dry humour, of course.

And I might squeeze one last post onto this platform if, as I expect, the secret bailout of Greece happens sometime Sunday.

The blog technically migrates on Tuesday night, so I will keep you posted on what happens at the Orwell Prize via Twitter (@paulmasonnews) - however, whether I win or not, the tweets may become progressively less coherent on the night, though for different reasons.


  • Comment number 1.

    Idle Scrawl is dead, long live...will it still be called Idle Scrawl?

  • Comment number 2.

    Paul what is going on? Greece in the doghouse and yet her growth figures surprised the City....better than ours.....

  • Comment number 3.

    Oh no, does this mean this blog will get the same disastrous makeover as Nick Robinson's? Aaaaaaargh!

  • Comment number 4.

    I will always find your bloggy thing but,more importantly,have a bloody good night on Tuesday and,although it's not really possible,let your hair down.

  • Comment number 5.

    Looking forward to more of the same PM. Good luck for Tuesday.

  • Comment number 6.

    For one insane but delightful moment I thought the BBC Oompa-Loompas had forgotten you and we could continue to blog away to our fingers' content. Is it the cuts to the moderators that have dictated the absurd 400 character limit. On other, lobotomised sites bloggers have already start blogging in instalments - ha, ha ,ha.

  • Comment number 7.

    'The new blog will be on in-house software that I have not yet had the pleasure of using.'

    The pleasure will be all yours, trust us.

    I will try to write in paragraphs of more than one sentence.

    Just... don't use many words.

    Apparently there is some rebellion going on among commenters about the proposed limitations on comments on other blogs and I leave you to it.

    Ah, one has that sinking in feeling. But, why?

  • Comment number 8.

    On the new system you only get 400 characters including spaces and you can't even do a 'cont...' easily as because it is basically the Have Your Say format and the posts appear in reverse order your continuation will appear above your original post!

    Good luck anyway Paul, if your posts get read by a wider audience because they are easier to find then thats a good thing, but without the depth, quality and variety of responses it won't be the same. I've read some great posts on here over the past few years, but, in my opinion at least half a blogs appeal lies in the responses it generates from its readers and in that respect the whole BBC blogosphere has been diminished. I guess that is what News International wanted though eh? After all, as you have alluded to in some of your posts the future of the media is not going to be on some box in the corner of the living room but on-line. The terrestrial BBC will be allowed to die of natural causes but the on-line version has had its wings clipped before it had a chance to take off.

  • Comment number 9.

    "The new blog will be on in-house software that I have not yet had the pleasure of using."

    That says it all really doesn't it? The management and the techie boys have imposed something they want. The journalists and users have been told to like it or lump it.

    Apart from the 400 char lilmit, the format is terrible, with smaller print even after considerable Ctrl+ enlargement, and only 5 most recent comments visible, expandable to 15. So it's very difficult to follow a coherent thread. If the software was developed in house, then those who commissioned/developed it deserve the boot. But no doubt they will manage their "performance indicators" to justify a bonus. I suspect that the evil ghost of VoldeBirt has not been exorcised.

    This may be technological CHANGE Paul, but it isn't PROGRESS, as the tag above suggests. We are coming to the end of a period where the BBC blogosphere engendered communities which, despite different views within them, challenged the received wisdom imposed from above. Perhaps this is why it is now being sabotaged.

    If it is as bad as many of us fear, I'm offski. Thank you Paul for your many thought-proving articles. Thank you too, to the many people on all sides of the debates whose comments have made me think and question/refine my own positions.

  • Comment number 10.

    You don't know what you've got till it's gone!

  • Comment number 11.

    A brave new blog for a brave new world.

    The clue is in Paul's title...

    Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information.

    Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism.

    Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us.

    Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.

    Orwell feared we would become a captive culture.

    Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy.

    Nuff said, in the mediasphere Huxley has wonn the day.

    Perhaps you could point that out in your acceptance speech if you win the orwell prize.

    Or use it as consolation if you dont.

    ta ta.

  • Comment number 12.

    You know Paul, it's often handy to provide a link to your new blog when you're closing down your old one... some of us have 10 RSS feeds to resubscribe to, and these details come in handy!

  • Comment number 13.

    400 character limit is fine - this is not a vanity press and you can post a link. The new format should curtail risk of comments being hijacked by single issue dogmatists expounding there own thesis.

    Censorship, not format is the issue with this BBC hosted blog. Disband the blog police . If we are able to rate comments ourselves then why do we need anyone else deciding if we are guilty of thoughtcrime ?

  • Comment number 14.


    "The new format should curtail risk of comments being hijacked by single issue dogmatists expounding there own thesis."

    Nuff sed.

  • Comment number 15.

    Hellenes lucky escape from abusive sexual domination ?

  • Comment number 16.

    '11. At 22:04pm 13th May 2011, Jericoa
    A brave new blog for a brave new world.
    Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information.'

    Cluey bloke. Had a few ideas on the machinations of those who would change things for the 'better', but usually end up only changing things to suit yet another few, especially flying in the face of majority views who inconveniently keep voting the 'wrong' way despite repeated 'education'.

    For instance, I see Mr. Huhne is in the news at the moment. Some less favourable in driving... ahem... the narrative and hence subject to much watertight oversight and rigour. Some top of the agenda, and hence very top of the news.

    There does seem to be a swelling narrative in some media quarters.

    If a tad contradictory perhaps.

    Shunting vast impositions onto future generations for short term selfish gains seems to be either good, or bad... depending.

    That point has been made a lot in this current dollop of 'reality':

    One wonders if it will be featured much in this 'un:

    Possibly some reality is made more 'real' in the pre-production and edit suite than others?

  • Comment number 17.


    Noticed similar things.

    Chris Hulme on one hand

    David Laws (ex banker) on the other being steadily re-introduced all nice and shiny and pious (aparently).

    The lack of news and analysis on the mission creep in Libya.

    and my personal favourite of the moment...

    The Royal Marine drummers dressed as highway men performing on Bitains got Talent to an obviously pre-planned scenario (the possibilities for analogies are endless for that one)...see clip.

    Truth is Huxley and Orwell combined were pretty accurate in predicting the dynamic behind and the emerging manifestation of a kleptocracy.

    A kleptocracy largely of the uncounscious mind (in my view) I guess people expect to see a 'kim jong 2'' or a 'newscorp' secret comitee behind its emergence. The truth is we need only look within our own minds and the way we think (largely pre-programmed behaviour at birth) to see that modern society is simply a reflection of the structure of human thought processes (largely unconscious) amplified and made real through the power of technology to a potentially devastating magnitude.

    None of this is new it has been a fear of the wise for many a generation and actively guarded against in ancient societies

    With the emergence of the western version of 'freedom' and the technology to distribute it unhindered all we are doing is creating a society which reflects the workings of a pre-civilisation mind and it is only a matter of time before the inevitable result of that will manifest itself.

    At which point we will re-discover 'mystery' and the cycle will begin again.

    All you have to do is watch 'forbidden planet' (based on the Tempest) to understand this.

  • Comment number 18.


    Though ‘we the people’ continue to live – by ignorance or impotence – ‘within the lie’, there can be few, if any, in positions of power, who do not know the truth of 9/11. It was a false flag operation of devilish conception, and ice-cold execution.

    Three recent events give me pause: Cameron’s rush to a military covenant ENSHRINED IN LAW; the ‘official’ high profile death of Osama bin-Laden, and the release of a letter negating Alastair Campbell’s shaky submission to the Chilcot Enquiry.

    I suggest the writing is, at long last, on the wall for the Bush/Blair Big Lie; namely the 9/11 charade, that Blair hailed as “CHANGING THE RULES OF THE GAME”.

    1) Are we about to see a great many angry military personnel, who were sent to war on a KNOWN FALSEHOOD; too many of them to return as maimed, dead, or ‘parts’? Are they being ‘headed off’, with a calculated Machiavellian manoeuvre, in the guise of a legalised covenant? Cameron has ‘form’ in this area.

    2) And consider the embarrassment of a LIVING bin-LADEN, once the 9/11 lie is blown to Ground Zero smithereens! How fortunate he is dead; and in the nick of time.

    I have watched much of Chilcot – it is all still online (though sudden web-wipes are known to happen). The enquiry was only required to ‘learn lessons’, but some findings are UNAVOIDABLY DAMNING and will, if I am any judge, reverberate globally, condemning Obama and Cameron to fool or knave status.

    Might the OLD RULES still hold, and those culpable be yet held to account?

  • Comment number 19.

    No matter where you go, no matter what you do, I shall find you.
    How do I know?
    Style, it's all in the style.
    So, have no fear I am right behind (in front, to the side) of you.
    I mean who else would dare take on: "quantitative easing, English football, the London stage, the Arab Spring, the global economic crisis, all things geeky and any riot I can get safely close to".
    Don't count on retaining your dry humour; during these changes (frustrations) dry humour can often become wet.
    Standing by for Tuesday...

  • Comment number 20.

    Paul, sorry I missed your piece at the Levellers Festival yesterday. GPS temporarily stopped working and we ended up overshooting M40 then circling round in a Oxon village.

  • Comment number 21.


    I dunno Barrrie, I guess there is enough faith in human nature and intelligence left in me for me to find it hard to believe.

    I do see a thread of logic in the collapse of the adjacent building to the twin towers but would anyone in the global political world be bold enough for such a move in broad daylight requiring the co-ordination of numerous demolision specialists and others, the potential for leaks would be huge.... I just cant see it.

    They are not brave enough and are too pre-occupied with the preservation of thier own skin to try such a thing.

    I have no such illusions about our unconscious selves capacity for savagery, the evidence of which is all around us.

  • Comment number 22.

    Oh no, not you as well.

    I have more or less given up on Hewitt and Mardell because the new blog engine is frankly rubbish. If you are being migrated there as well, we may as well give up on BBC blogs altogether.

  • Comment number 23.


    Bobby Fischer: from prodigy to pariah

    Fischer, who registered an IQ of 180, once said that he did not consider himself to be a genius at chess. "I consider myself to be a genius who happens to play chess."

  • Comment number 24.

    Where is everyone going if they are to give up on the BBC blogs?

  • Comment number 25.

    There's some good bloggers here.
    Please put up with the dumbed down new blog style & don't disappear.
    We can still learn from one another.

  • Comment number 26.

    @24 I intend to devote more time to my garden, and to reading real books! :-)

    @23 The Grauniad should know better: "an IQ of 180" on WHAT SCALE? According to MENSA ".... an IQ of 150 is a meaningless claim unless you know the actual test which was used."

    On a Wechsler scale, (SD 15), a score 0f 180 would imply 5+ SDs from the mean, with a nominal probability of less than 1/1000000. This is perfectly possible, given the size of the human population. However, whether it would be possible to calibrate tests meaningfully is another matter. On the Cattell III B scale, (SD 24) used by MENSA it would correspond to a nominal probability of about 1/5000 - except that "An adult can only get a maximum IQ of 161 on the Cattell III B test."

    Whatever his IQ, it didn't help him to be happy, to have a grasp of truth, or to function well socially, poor sod.

  • Comment number 27.

    #26 Time for gardening...

    Given the consensus of posting on here wrt the future I take it you will be digging up all the flowers in your garden and replacing them with potatoes, carrots, winter beans and a chicken coop?

  • Comment number 28.

    What was once so simple is turning into a medium for the self opinionated chattering classes who of course know how to use all these new technilogical inventions for the own advantage.

    It is either Twitter and Facebook which are fast becoming the 'unsocial media' or some complicated to get into and comment on blog somewhere in cyberspace only available to those 'in the know'.

    All designed to keep us dumb and subserviant so I guess I will have to join others who really want to know what's going on by tapping into media outside the UK.

  • Comment number 29.

    @27 Jericoa - There will be more veg, I hope, but I'm not a Philistine - I love flowers! :-)

    @28 The English language version of Der Spiegel is always worth a look, and Spiegel has a good track record of standing up for press freedom too!

  • Comment number 30.

    @25 DVR

    I propose a month's boycott, then see how the land lies. :-)

  • Comment number 31.

    There are plenty of half decent blogs out there and the Guardian's various ones are better than most. My problem is - sorry Paul, I don't often do rave reviews - it is rare to find a journalist with the willingness and ability to side shift through a range of topics from sport to music to good writing, still handle his brief with authority and chuck in a health lump of humour when called for. Paul, I will continue to read with interest but attempt to head-butt the stone wall that is the new blog engine? Sorry - does not compute.

  • Comment number 32.

    threnodio - yeah that's where I'm at. I'll carry on subscribing to the rss feed to read the articles.

    I'm also going to give Spiegel a go for a week instead of BBC news which is a bit turgid.

  • Comment number 33.

    #32 - Ben

    You found the rss feeds in the new blog format? Damned if I can. Where is it?

  • Comment number 34.

    #32 - Ben

    OK - found it.

  • Comment number 35.

    "Despite the numerous logistical challenges of the move it will be worth it as the content will now be only a few dozen clicks away from the BBC's main page."

    Really? As far as I can see the main point of this reorganisation was to make most people's blogs even harder to find than they where before.

  • Comment number 36.

    ?!? So is this blog moving or not ?

    If it has moved, can someone post a link here to Paul Mason's new blog.

  • Comment number 37.

    #36 has a point - where's the new blog? I've been trying to add its RSS feed for a week, but it doesn't seem to exist.


More from this blog...

Latest contributors

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.