According to some on Twitter today I’ve been "duped". That’s because David Cameron has written a guest piece for the site called ‘We will give pensioners security and dignity’. He asked if he could do it and we said, "why not?" After all, part of what MoneySavingExpert.com is about is providing a forum for people to engage in the big discussions and debates on consumer finance policy.
Yet predictably there was the classic backlash. Here’s just a selection of some of the (nicer) anti-comments. I’ve picked the twitter ones as they’re shorter. Of course there were many who were supportive and found it interesting too…
- @newviv: "@MartinSLewis I don’t approve of @David_Cameron using your website as a political platform."
- @mheave: "@MartinSLewis @David_Cameron shame on you Martin. This man is vile, pernicious and plain evil to those struggling you try to help #irony."
- @BillyWits: "Political spinning. You’ve been used Martin, the [obscenity deleted] has used you as you are perceived as trusted."
- @harriet1dog: "I thought your site was meant to be impartial not a party political broadcast, is it Nigel Farage next week?"
- @exnhsnurse1: "DC blog is party political broadcast. You are being used because you are a trusted source of financial advice."
- @meljhenderson: "I can’t believe you’ve let him use this great website as a political platform. #disgraceful"
- @mathewtedwards: "I think this is a BIG mistake! My constructive criticism would be to politely tell @David_Cameron you have reconsidered."
Yet many people when I responded were unaware of the wider context, some hadn’t actually read the blog, just responded to the fact Cameron was writing. This isn’t new, it isn’t biased, we have regularly offered oppportunities for senior politicians of all parties to write guest pieces for the site. (The only reason Ed Milliband hasn’t appeared is because we asked his team for a piece on energy and he didn’t seem keen; we have also asked for his comments on this issue today.)
Here’s a list of just some of our past guest bloggers below. We’re also open to more guest pieces from senior politicians of all major parties (and it’d be nice to some get from SNP or Plaid Cymru too), as well as regulators and policymakers.
- David Cameron, Conservative MP for Witney, Prime Minister –‘We will give pensioners security and dignity’ published 19.11.2014.
- Christopher Evans, Labour MP for Islwyn – ‘More needs to be done to stamp out copycat websites’ published 28.10.2014.
- Jo Swinson, Liberal Democrat MP for East Dunbartonshire, Minister for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Women and Equalities Minister – ‘New measures give consumers more power to combat rogue traders’ published 01.10.2014.
- Steve Webb, Liberal Democrat MP for Thornbury and Yate, Minister of State for Pensions – ‘What you need to know about the new State Pension’ published 15.08.2014.
- Martin Wheatley, CEO of the Financial Conduct Authority – ‘Tell the regulator: has it got payday loan cap right?’ published 15.07.2014.
- Dermot Nolan, CEO of Ofgem –‘We’re taking action on unfair mobile phone insurance’ published 27.06.2013.
- Jo Swinson, Liberal Democrat MP for East Dunbartonshire, Minister for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Women and Equalities Minister 12.06.2013 – ‘Why we’re putting consumer rights all in one place’ published 12.06.2013.
- Stella Creasy, Labour and Co-operative MP for Walthamstow and Shadow Minister for Competition and Consumer Affairs – ‘Action needed NOW on payday loans’ published 02.01.2013.
- David Cameron, Conservative MP for Witney, Prime Minister – ‘Our plans to tackle rising energy costs’ published 17.10.2011.
So, we haven’t been duped, what we have done, like many national newspapers also do, is provided a forum for important individuals who can change policy to try and justify their position, explain what they are planning to do and provided, within our own forum, a place for people to discuss it and give feedback about those issues.
I consider that to be an important part of engagement with the political process within our MoneySaving community, which has 15 million monthly users.
We are incredibly careful not to indicate in any way what our position is on these subjects. These are for the politicians to engage in. I think it is a perfectly decent way to behave – after all most national newspapers which do it tend to be biased towards an agenda.
Our site’s stance is strictly apolitical. We do it as a form of engagement. We have even in the past done the MSE Leaders debate, where we asked all the parties for their views on key matters to consumers.
So for those having a go, I think perhaps you needed to have done your research first.