Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Tom Steinberg and MySociety. I’m also a fan of the agenda that some in the Tories are pushing with regard to transparency, in particular, transparent budgeting.
But if it it true that William Hague is going to announce the appointment of Tom as a Tory adviser on Internet matters at their conference, then I think it is incompatible with his position as boss of MySociety.
Why? Well, ask yourself what you would have thought if David Miliband had announced Tom as an adviser to the Labour Party last week? There’d have been uproar. To allow yourself to become part of the electoral positioning between the two parties, is at best naive. And to announce his appointment at the Conservative Party conference, is about as partisan as it gets.
MySociety has built a great deal of trust with parliamentarians on all both sides of the House over the last few years. It wasn’t easy. They’re a non-partisan organisation who rightly, take a dig at all sides when required. Yet, despite Tom’s hastily published explanation on his blog tonight, the manner of his appointment will leave an air of mistrust between him and supporters of MySociety who are not Conservatives. That’s a very great shame for him, but more importantly, for MySociety.