Monday, 11 May 2009

My Welsh Blogosphere - Che Grav-ara

The recent email smear scandal surrounding Damien McBride and Derek Draper has thrown the spotlight on bloggers. Many commentators have made the misleading comparison between the clique of new labour spin doctors who were advocating the creation of false and damaging lies being spread about opposition politicians and their families, and that of the ordinary blogger.

The ordinary blogger is partisan and opinionated as a rule but for the most part fair. Indeed the problems of distinguishing between Smear and opinion were not helped by some of the Welsh blogsphere’s original pioneers deliberately using the scandal as a stick to beat political opponents. To trivialise what McBride and Draper were proposing as a cheap way of attacking other bloggers for their views was quite a dangerous thing to do.

For me the Welsh blogsphere has always been an honest place. Yes we have had our own versions of Guido Fawkes through Arsembly, but most commentators, whatever party they support, if they support a party at all, blog because they believe in what they are saying. That is unless you’re a Lib Dem then it’s hard to see what ideology there is to believe in. Just kidding. Well, not really.

So what’s the point of the blogsphere, and more importantly for this piece what’s the point to me. For me I blog for one reason and one reason only. I enjoy it. It amuses me. It is my honest, if partisan view.

The most positive thing for me is the vibrancy of the Welsh political blogsphere. There is a real voice. Often it is a voice vigorously and adamantly disagreeing with itself but a unique voice none the less. There is also no doubt to me that the Welsh blogsphere has a potent role in today’s political process. The author of Sweet and Tender Hooligan, and the most vocal opponent to the humble success (or failures depending on how you view it) of Guerrilla Welsh Fare, Marcus Warner, has stated on my blog several times that the blogsphere has little or no influence. Leighton Andrews said, “most of the welsh blogs around don’t matter in the slightest.” Ironically this was in reaction to several days’ news attacking Labour over their disastrous foray into the field.

Whilst I accept that the Welsh blogsphere may not reach many ordinary voters where it does have an impact is with welsh opinion formers. We are increasingly seeing stories breaking on the blogs first, or political issues forgotten by the Welsh media only to be given an airing after being picked up on the blogs.

The blogsphere is in its infancy. Its impact on the general public will grow in time but its impact with the media and politicians has already been visibly seen.

Personally, I will continue to enjoy the blogsphere. I will post my thoughts and reactions where and when I want and welcome any disagreements on those views, because the best thing about the blogsphere is the debate it brings. (or doesn’t if you are one of those blogs that only allow comments that agree with you.)

(Written by Che Grav-ara, Welsh blogger, creator and author of Guerilla Welsh Fare)

This is the sixth in a series of posts giving a chance for Welsh bloggers to have their say on the state of the blogosphere and where it's going. If you're interested in contributing place feel free to contact me at

12 Responses to “My Welsh Blogosphere - Che Grav-ara”

Good post - you didn't leave your name though?


A genuine question...

Do you view yourself part of the blogosphere or the political elite? I know you can be both, but I am curious.

Che Grav-ara said...

Thanks Marcus, I'm sure you took my name check as the tounge in cheek it was.

I am a blogger as part of the welsh political blogsphere.

I am not 100% sure what would consist being part of the political elite?

I think, and I certainly felt this, that there is competing 'push/pull' when you work in politics and blog, be it anonymously or otherwise.

For instance, me and the AM i previous worked for disagreed on many things politically, particularly regarding devolution. This I felt made anon blogging something I had to do to avoid the prism being 'me vs. my boss'.

You work in the political industry, the elite as it were - do you ever find them in conflict?

Che Grav-ara said...

As someone who doesn't consider myself in anyway the political elite I couldn't say marcus.

Still I have sympathy with your position. I often find myself disagreeing with your former employer. She must be the worst AM in Wales!


Irene James can defend herself, we are talking about you. Do you, as someone who works within the political elite, EVER feel that those things cross over when you are blogging?

I felt it did for me, particularly as i had a different view on a number of things to my boss.

Have you ever felt that your opinion, or subject matter, is sensitive to your role within Plaid?

Che Grav-ara said...


Has this blog become an interrogation room for the blog police? The one man band rolls on.

"Irene James can defend herself"

I think that's a bit flattering. I have seen her debating skills Marcus.


Yes, yes, you keep ducking the question like a tool. I will keep going, it seems getting the best value for money for the tax payer is in season at the moment is it not?

Its a fair question, particularly as its relevant to your post. I will repeat it again...

Do you, as someone who works within the political elite, EVER feel that those things cross over when you are blogging?

My argument is that your analysis about blog being story breakers, the are just party staff pretending.

Where is your separation? That is all i am asking. In your job, you are party to things us on the outside are not, therefore this must have an impact on your blog.

I will give you an example, I was party to the letters between Morgan and German during the 2007 post election discussions, but i did not blog about it explicitly because i was allowed to view it 'for my eyes only'. Do you ever come across such scenarios?

Che Grav-ara said...

"I was party to the letters between Morgan and German during the 2007 post election discussions, but i did not blog about it explicitly because i was allowed to view it 'for my eyes only'. Do you ever come across such scenarios?"

I once had a love letter from a girl when I was 11. Is that the same thing?

Well, its good to know you are keen to engage in fruitul political debate and not trivia.

Che Grav-ara said...

lol. Get a sense of humour friend

Che is a member of Plaid Cymru staff pretending to be an organic blogger.

Gavin said...

Even if he is a member of plaid cymru staff why would that not make him an organic blogger. I see freedom central and AG as organic bloggers with their own views even though they are staff. Same as I will view Che as his own person irrespective of his job.

Your obsession on this is a little wierd to be honest.

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