The Association of Former Members of Parliament has 340 members and publishes a Newsletter entitled "Order, Order!". The Summer 2007 issue includes an article from me about this blog. I reproduced it below with their heading. It is in their edited form, I have omitted a small item and have corrected my blog details!
Harry Barnes Is Looking For Bloggers!
As a pensioner, I once asked an even more elderly friend how I could acquire computer skills. His answer was - "have some grandchildren!"
But as our first grandchild was only born four days after I retired as an MP in 2005, it has been my son and daughter I have turned to for help.
I first became an MP in 1987 and was set in my ways by the time computers finally came to dominate the scene. I depended upon assistants to engage in the seemingly unfathomable surfing the net, producing DATA files, downloading e-mails and turning my scrawl into computer text.
I am now into the daily use of the computer. And as I taught politics at university for 21 years, then served as an MP for 18 years and even did my National Service in Iraq; it is natural for me to link my past worlds together in what I term "political education".
So now I circulate e-mails about political discussion meetings I organise, click into "Google" in order to research items, use a word processor to provide material for our Iraq LFIQ web-site and even operate my own "blog" which my son set up for me as a great 70th birthday surprise.
Having a blog is like publishing one's own column onto the scene. It is a substitute for no longer having my former MP's avenues of writing up notes for parliamentary speeches, shooting off press-releases and writing articles for magazines or local freebie newspapers.
So I can now rush out any ideas I want to on the Labour Leadership, book reviews, or the visit I made to Iraqi-Kurdistan last year, or football. Especially now Sunderland are back in the Premier League . I was very proud to have my piece "A Love Supreme" republished in the Sunderland fanzine.(1)
It is much easier than trying to catch the Speaker's eye.
There is no reason why ex-MPs can't establish their own blogging community - for a public debate.
If you are interested, then click into my blog at http://threescoreyearsandten.blogspot.com/ or just ask the grandkids!
Harry Barnes MP for Derbyshire N.E. 1987-2005.
(1) = N.B. The article was entited "From Beano to Keano" ,whilst "A Love Supreme" is the name of the Fanzine.