Fraser Nelson, Political Blogger

Fraser Nelson, for the uninitiated, is the political editor of the Spectator and is one part of the very readable collective blog Coffee House.

Despite the gifts of the other contributors, he’s the undoubted star of the show. He instinctively gets the form.

Take his campaign to get Gordon Brown to come clean on Labour’s spending/cutting commitments. Nelson was the first to identify cuts dressed up as investment buried in Alistair Darling’s budget.

 

And when the PM went on the offensive culminating in the ill-fated Mr 10% campaign, Nelson was there again.

Indeed he had earlier confronted Brown at a press conference, going off topic during the height of the expenses scandal to “ask why [Brown] misled the public over the huge cuts he has planned for us post-election”. The result became a mini-YouTube hit

He was on his pet subject again this lunchtime following today’s PMQs, notable not just for the John Bercow debut but for David Cameron’s decision to devote:

all six questions to a simple theme: Gordon Brown lied to the House of Commons last week when he said capital expenditure was rising every year to the Olympics. 

My admiration for Nelson is not about political allegiance, it’s an acknowledgement of his blogging skills.

As he’s said in the past, a blog allows you to return to a subject again and again in a way you’re unlikely to do in print.

A blog gives you an opportunity to refine your arguments – with help from the crowd, of course – and to peg your arguments to events as they unfold.

During the 2005 general election I ran Channel 4 FactCheck, a site dedicated to testing the claims of politician much in the way Nelson has with Brown on spending. 

FactCheck took the form of  individual article pages. But if I was to do it again in 2010, there’s no doubt the blog – with a little micro-blogging thrown in for good measure – offers a much better format to deliver.

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