Friday, September 28, 2007

The Top 500 Political Blogs in the UK - Voted for By You

The GUIDE TO POLITICAL BLOGGING 2007 is now available. You can buy it from Politico's (£9.74) or Amazon (£14.98). This is the final list which will be published on this blog (ok ok... I get the hint).

When compiling a list of top blogs last year, due to constraints, I did it all myself. I scored each blog with ten criteria and out of that came the rankings. Naturally, it was all very subjective. With more time available this year I asked fellow bloggers and blog readers to come up with their Top 20 or Top 10 blogs. These were then fed into a spreadsheet, and the list of Britain’s Top 500 political blogs emerged. In some ways, it is similar to my own list last year in that many of the recognised names appear at the top of the chart. But there have been some significant new arrivals since last year’s edition was compiled, several of which feature high up the chart. Before the analysis let’s look at a few facts.

* Out of the Top 20, fourteen of the blogs are on the right and only two are on the left
* Out of the Top 100, 42 blogs are on the right and 27 are on the left
* Out of the Top 500 154 are on the right and 153 are on the left
* 9 LibDem blogs feature in the Top 100 and 50 feature in the Top 500
* 4 blogs written by full time journalists feature in the Top 20 and 50 are in the Top 500

So the lesson is that although right wing blogs still dominate the upper reaches of the chart, left of centre blogs are showing signs of coming to life and challenging the right. I full expect to see three or four left of centre blogs join the ‘big boys’ over the next twelve months, although at the moment it is difficult to see who they might be. Kerron Cross is best placed but keep an eye on Rupa Huq.

Sceptics may well point to the fact that a right wing Blogger (ie me!) organised this poll and therefore the results might well be skewed in favour of the right. Indeed, the fact that people voted my blog the top blog of all, would tend to add weight to that argument (although
I should say I got 60% more votes than the second placed blog Guido Fawkes, and double that of third placed blog Dizzy Thinks).

However, before rushing to judgement too quickly, reflect on the fact that of the 500 people who sent in their lists, nearly half of them were clearly left of centre voters. The Top 100 blog structure very much reflects that of the football leagues. There are four blogs who, in terms of influence and traffic, are way ahead of the others – Guido Fawkes, ConservativeHome, Iain
Dale’s Diary and PoliticalBetting.com. They are, if you like, the Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal of the UK blogging fraternity. You then have a few teams who might challenge in a good year – Dizzy Thinks (Everton), Devil’s Kitchen (Newcastle) and Recess Monkey (Spurs) – a few new comers who fizz into their first year with huge promise – Spectator Coffee House (Bolton), Norfolk Blogger (Wigan) and Ben Brogan (Reading) – and then a whole group of clubs wo are quite happy with a mid table position – Croydonian (West Ham), Archbishop Cranmer (Middlesbrough) and Tim Worstall (Manchester City) spring to mind.

There are several blogs emerging from the equivalent of the Football League Championship – Caroline Hunt, Bob Piper and the Watford supporting Kerron Cross among them. But it is further down the leagues that you find several blogs with Premier League potential. The Liberal Democrat supporting Quaequam blog, right wing ranter Donal Blaney, The Waendel Journal and Trotskyite Dave’s Part would certainly be among them.

The challenge for all the blogs outside the top echelons is to build traffic. There is a lot written about the growing influence of UK bloggers, but there are only five or six blogs which could be said to have a mass audience. They are Guido Fawkes, ConservativeHome, Iain Dale’s Diary, EU Referendum and Political Betting. Each of these blogs has a daily readership into five figures and monthly page views of several hundred thousand. Few other blogs manage more than 1,000 daily visitors. Blogs like Dizzy Thinks, which I happen to think will break into the big time in the next twelve months, have steadily built traffic over the last year but may need one big hit to make the breakthrough.

Quality of writing and insight will always win through in the end. The last twelve months has also seen several journalistic blogs spring to the forefront. The Spectator Coffee House blog is one that I thought was destined to fail because between five and ten people write for it. I thought it would be difficult for it to obtain ‘personality’, a key ingredient for success for any blog. How wrong I was. Within a few months it established itself as a daily ‘must read’, way ahead of any other mainstream media group blog. Ben Brogan is another print journalist who has taken to blogging like a duck to water. The secret of his success is that he provides snippets of insight which would never make it into the Daily Mail. His readers know he is ‘in the know’. Similarly, Nick Robinson’s success as a blogger is because he writes about things which would not make his news bulletin, or he provides added insight to an item which did. There was a time when Adam Boulton’s blog was streets ahead of Nick’s. Not any longer.

No one knows where UK blogging is going to be headed over the next twelve months, least of all me. All I do hope is that next year I will be asking you all again to vote for your Top 20 blogs. And when you do, I imagine that there will be quite a few changes at the top of the leaderboard. So here's the Top 500.

1 Iain Dale's Diary
2 Guido Fawkes
3 Dizzy Thinks
4 ConservativeHome
5 Political Betting
6 Devil's Kitchen
7 Croydonian
8 Nick Robinson
9 Spectator Coffee House
10 Ellee Seymour
11 Recess Monkey
12 Burning our Money
13 Archbishop Cranmer
14 Benedict Brogan
15 Tim Worstall
16 Mr Eugenides
17 Norfolk Blogger
18 Paul Linford
19 Prague Tory
20 EU Referendum
21 Harry's Place
22 Tom Watson MP
23 NHS Blog Doctor
24 Caroline Hunt
25 Bob Piper
26 Fair Deal Phil
27 Times Comment Central
28 Tory Radio
29 Chicken Yoghurt
30 Ministry of Truth
31 Kerron Cross
32 Slugger O'Toole
33 Nadine Dorries MP
34 Pickled Politics
35 Donal Blaney
36 Boris Johnson
37 Theo Spark
38 Labour Home
39 British Bullshit Foundation
40 Biased BBC
41 An Englishman's Castle
42 John Redwood MP
43 Hunter & Shooter
44 Craig Murray
45 Samizdata
46 Dave's Part
47 Waendel Journal
48 Newmania
49 Rachel From North London
50 The Last Ditch
51 Our Kingdom
52 Bloggers 4 Labour
53 Liberal England
54 LibDem Voice
55 Stephen Tall
56 Adam Smith Institute
57 Bloggerheads
58 Hoby
59 Daily Referendum
60 Bel is Thinking
61 Quaequam
62 The Bristow Blog
63 Millennium Dome Elephant
64 Suz Blog
65 Antonia Bance
66 WebCameron
67 Spyblog
68 City Unslicker
69 James Cleverley
70 Stumbling & Mumbling
71 Beau Bo D'Or
72 Luke Akehurst
73 Newer Labour
74 As a Dodo
75 Edland
76 Chris Paul Labour of Love
77 Tartan Hero
78 Glyn Davies
79 UK Daily Pundit
80 Westminster Wisdom
81 Melanie Phillips
82 Blair Watch
83 Liberal Burblings
84 18 Doughty Street
85 Daniel Hannan MEP
86 Matt Wardman
87 Mars Hill
88 Little Man in a Toque
89 Policeman's Blog
90 Peter Black AM
91 Mark Mardell
92 Rolled Up Trousers
93 Shiraz Socialist
94 Bishop Hill
95 Tim Roll-Pickering
96 Paul Flynn MP
97 Oliver Kamm
98 Campaign for an English Parliament
99 Ordovicius
100 Snowflake5 101 Grimmer Up North 102 Musings of a Reactionary Snob 103 Love & Liberty 104 UK Polling Report 105 Skipper 106 Laban Tall 107 Little & Large 108 Sinclair's Musings 109 Miranda Grell 110 Earthquake Cove 111 A Very British Dude 112 Wheeler's Website 113 1820.org.uk 114 Stephen Pollard 115 Evanomics 116 Roger Helmer MEP 117 The Green Ribbon 118 John Moorcroft 119 A Tangled Web 120 Norm Blog 121 Cicero's Songs 122 Toby Harnden 123 Jane's the One 124 Nourishing Obscurity 125 The Daily (Maybe) 126 Looking for a Voice 127 Curly's Corner Shop 128 Adam Boulton 129 Monbiot.com 130 Mike Ion 131 Iain Lindley 132 Darlington Councillor 133 Stroppy Blog 134 Idiots 4 Labour 135 Thunder Dragon 136 Birmingham University CF 137 PM 138 Priti Patel 139 Man in a Shed 140 Taxpayer's Alliance
141
People's Commissar of Enligtenment 142 Andy Mayer 143 Tygerland 144 Contra Tory 145 PJC Journal 146 Chase me Ladies 147 The Sharpener 148 The Difference 149 Rupa Huq 150 Bryan Appleyard 151 Theo Blackwell 152 Scottish Patient 153 Barry Beelzebub 154 Mike Rouse 155 Paul Scully 156 Darker Side of Bridget Jones 157 Normal Mouth 158 Pub Philosopher 159 Drink Soaked Trotskyite Popinjays for War 160 Not Saussure 161 Peter Hitchens 162 Philobiblon 163 Paul Kingsnorth 164 Istanbul Tory 165 Three Score Years & Ten 166 England Project 167 Labour Humanist 168 Nosemonkey Europhobia 169 Political Hack UK 170 Britain & America 171 Snedds 172 Lynne Featherstone MP 173 Open Secrets 174 Crushed by Ingsoc 175 Hot, Ginger & Dynamite 176 A Conservative's Blog 177 Richard Corbett MEP 178 Nation of Shopkeepers 179 Miserable Old Fart 180 Dr Rant 181 Gauche 182 Socialist Unity 183 Corporate Presenter 184 Ghost of the Hitch 185 Liberal Bureaucracy 186 Stephen Newton's Diary 187 David Gold 188 The F Word 189 Betsan Powys 190 Ruscombe Green 191 Nanny Knows Best 192 Liberal Mafia 193 Bethan Jenkins 194 Blood & Treasure 195 Obsolete 196 Blether with Brian 197 Waking Hereward 198 S J Howard 199 Hug a Hoodie 200 Another Green World 201 Raedwald 202 Open Europe 203 Terry Watch 204 Linguanaut 205 Labour's Fightback 206 Lenin's Tomb 207 West Brom Blog 208 Adam Price MP 209 Matt Davies 210 Wonko's World 211 Martine Martin's Lebwog 212 Dodgeblogium 213 Scottish Co-Operative... 214 Ranting Stan 215 Neue Arbeit Macht Frei 216 A Conservative Mind 217 British Politics 218 Nicolas Webb 219 Colin Ross 220 Antony Little 221 Young Unionists 222 Clive Davis 223 Media Lens 224 Three Thousand Versts... 225 Remittance Man 226 A Pint of Unionist Lite 227 Tigmoo 228 Longrider 229 Civitas 230 Vaughan Roderick 231 Vino's Political Blog 232 Patrick Cusworth 233 Lindyloo's Muze 234 Angels in Marble 235 Gaian Economics 236 Graeme Archer 237 Dylan Jones-Evans 238 Some Day I Will Treat You Good 239 Huw Lewis AM 240 Brussels Journal 241 Social Europe 242 Parbury Politica 243 J Arthur Macnumpty 244 Greenwich Watch 245 Austin Mitchell MP 246 YBF Activists 247 Ian Hamilton QC 248 Downing Street Says 249 Never Trust a Hippy 250 Jeffrey Archer 251 James O'Malley: Living Legend 252 Between the Hammer &... 253 Matt T 254 Fibdems 255 Niles's Blog 256 England Expects 257 Mabinogogiblog 258 No Geek is an Island 259 General Theory of Rubbish 260 Eric Lee 261 Belsize LibDems 262 Random Acts of Reality 263 Not Proud of Britain 264 Let's be Sensible 265 Jock Coats 266 Grendel 267 Freedom & Whisky 268 Jag Singh 269 Union Futures 270 Regalis 271 If Sam Tarran Was in Charge 272 Jonathan Fryer 273 Omar's Blog 274 Luke Akehurst Parody Blog 275 Liberal Alone 276 BBC Editors' Blog 277 Nether-World 278 Wouldn't it be Scarier… 279 GWE 280 Mutley the Dog 281 The Spine
282
Skud's Sister's Brother 283 Disgruntled Radical 284 What You Can Get Away With 285 Jeremy Hargreaves 286 Mary Reid 287 Cascittuni 288 Your Friend in the North 289 Stuart King 290 Social Affairs Unit 291 Revolts 292 Postman Patel 293 Phil Taylor 294 New Culture Forum 295 Gavin Ayling 296 Dasmirnov 297 Alasdair Ross 298 Richard Baum 299 Mailstrom 300 Inspector Gadget

My capacity for linking has reached its end. To find out who the next 200 are in the Top 500 I'm afraid you'll have to buy the BOOK!

50 comments:

iain dale's underpants said...

I know, I know. But out of loyalty:

The top 10 left-of-centre Moldavian blogs written on a Soviet-era typewriter.

The top 100 New Orleans democrat blogs written underwater on the back of an eviction notice.

The top 1 right-wing blogs written when I can be bothered in the opulence of Tunbridge Wells on a clapped-out Sony Viao in the shadow of my own magnificence.

ian said...

Curiously I also asked my readership who their favourite blogs were. And like you, their answer was my own blog.

septicisle. said...

It really hurts to come over a hundred places below Melanie Philips. (Make your own jokes.)

CityUnslicker said...

I missed 69 by one, just my luck.

verity said...

Congratulations on coming in top blogger in Britain, Iain! Given that there are many intelligent and literate political blogs out there, I'm sure it's a source of great pride - and deservedly so.

Praguetory said...

I wonder how much further down the list you have to go to find a blogger who had retired when the poll was taken. And I beat those Leftie old-timers Piper and Watson. Yours boastfully. PT xxx

Guido Fawkes Esq. said...

Fix!

Chris Paul said...

It's fascinating. Is it really the case that half the voters were left of centre? Doesn't show. Unless you count bloggers like Web Cameron in your definition?! Interesting that Suz Blog for one example is actually relatively much much higher in the general list than in their own clan. You're right to suggest Rupa could cut through. But she'll need to go to one a week and one a day and onwards to several a day probably to do the business.

Anonymous said...

Two polls out tomorrow Yougove labour 11% lead, populus Labour 10% lead, don't you think you should be commenting on that Iain.
Tories will be nostalgic about '97 at this rate.

David Davis for leader Iain?

Iain Lindley said...

Very interesting Iain!

I realise it's far too late for the book, but if you could update the link to my site on this post to www.iainlindley.co.uk I would be exceptionally grateful!

Many thanks

Iain

Chris Paul said...

Wycombe Wanderers? Worksop Town? Derry City? Bristol Rovers? Not a Derby (though I supported them from Bucks for a few years), but possibly a Notts Forest?

Norfolk Blogger said...

Iain, the football reference is probably a good one. I think provincial bloggers, like me, will always struggle to be a top four blogger. I don't have the access, the links, the contacts, to make it in to your league, so I will perhaps have to settle for being a Wigan (I never thought I'd say that).

Well done on your numebr one position. Richly deserved.

Fred said...

It is correct that UK POLLING should come no-where. Too dour, and supported by a daily handful of some 12 or so boring geeks, usually off subject. I understand censorship and comment moderation is strict with a tight anti spam stopper in place. Strictly a blog for bores only.

Stuart Holmes said...

Dear Iain,
Please check post-"Tobacoo Promotions-Corrupt Legislation- Conservative Conference Blackpool 2007" @ ActorsSmokingFilmsTV.blogspot.com posted 28 Sept.
Yours, Stuart Holmes.

Diablo said...

Thank God all these lists will now stop and we can concentrate on some serious NuLab bashing.

Just heard a story on News 24 paper review that some of our remaining gold reserves are not completely pure. How does this link to the fact that my son's primary school has just agreed to ask families to donate old unwanted jewellery to raise funds for the school? Sounds like a typical Brown scam - get the kids to collect some old gold off of grandma to replenish our reserves in exchange for a little bung to the PTAs. It's going on all around Great Britain.

Who would believe it? This is how desperate Brown has become!

Alfie said...

Waking Hereward - the Scunthorpe United of the blogging world.

Benny said...

your blog has inspired me to start one. I may as well, being a politics student and it'll be fun! Hopefully i'll be on the list next year. :) congratulations on a deserved top place! Ben

Bob Piper said...

I think PragueTory not being in the top 3 is a disgrace. Surely if we had only thought as much of him as he does he would have been way up there. His blog was witty, but still intellectual and his modesty shone through in every posting. He is a big loss to the world of blogging and I'm sure we all miss him and are praying for his earthly return.

I wonder if people voted for him because they didn't realise he had actually gone away.

Chris & Glynis Abbott said...

How come Politicos charged me £11.04 plus postage?

Chris Abbott
http://www.chrisandglynisabbott.blogspot.com/

Iain Dale said...

Chris, you will have to ask them that (just to emphasise, I no longer own Politico's). I suspect that like Amazon they discount further once a book becomes popular.

Alex said...

Congratulations Iain, but as any quant in the city would tell you, what you have compiled is a list of the top 500 political blogs read by readers of Iain Dale's blog.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayes'_theorem

Norfolk Blogger said...

I would point out that Susanne Malido of "Suzblog" is not a Lib Dem ember, so is not part of any clan.

And as for the gut who claims this is only a top 500 from people who read this blog, it is like saying that the General election was aonly a vote from people who bothered to go to the polling station or get a postal vote.

Every poll is slef selecting in its own way.

Justin Hinchcliffe said...

I would like to thank everyone who nominated me. 43 isn't bad for a newcomer, is it?

I'm pleased Suz did well. But I thought Croydonian would be a little higher up - 4?

ZanderLibra said...

Thanks for the top 300.. it gives me a good little bit of reading to do.

grrr for not putting the other 200 on...

Im suprised you managed to hold out to put 300+ individual hyperlinks up, and am glad you have done so.

C4' said...

216th out of 500!

YEAH!!!

P.S. the web address changed some months ago to http://conservativemindblog.blogspot.com

Jeremy Jacobs said...

183rd

Get in there!

David B said...

Delighted by my showing in 281st place. Now can anybody better my drop of 230+ places from last year?

Lord Higham- Murray said...

Chuffed of course, personally but can't understand Flying Rodent being so low down. Clearly one must not be tongue in cheek.

bethan said...

But you still haven't linked to my blog!

Matt Wardman said...

>Im suprised you managed to hold out to put 300+ individual hyperlinks up

Excel, my friend.

Matt Wardman said...

Order your buttons here:

http://www.poliblogs.co.uk/blog/2007/09/buttons-for-blogs-in-iain-dales-top-100/

Matt W said...

Damn and blast the url chopper off-er.

On my name.

Sam Tarran said...

Christ! I didn't think I'd make the 500, let alone reach 271.

Small potatoes, but nice potatoes nonetheless.

alanindyfed said...

Pleased to say that "Independence Cymru"
(http://alanindyfed.blogspot.com/) is not rated or included in the British Blog ratings.
We are purely a Welsh blog and do not recognise a British anything.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Amused to see myself compared to Newcastle United FC, the only football club that I have ever supported (albeit in the most desultory way)...

DK

P.S. I can't believe that there's a Tonbridge blog...

Not a sheep said...

I can't stand the suspense Iain, am I anywhere in positions 301-500 in the Top 500 or just number 90 in the Right of Centre list?

I do like your football team analogy; my football team is in fact almost as lowly as position 90...

Daily Referendum said...

Thanks Iain, and thanks to those who voted for me. I'm chuffed to get such a great place after only 10 months of blogging. Next year the world....

Anonymous said...

Are the raw voting figures available? How many votes were cast for each blogger? You received 60% more votes than somebody else but 60% of what? How many votes did it require to get in at number 500 or 400 or 300?

Suz said...

Chuffed to bits that my blog did so well. Lots of people seem to read it and many LibDems nervously email me info rather than add comments.

Couldn't give a stuff about whether I'm a member or not. Or the digs from little boys trying to score points. Seen several of late.

Given the choice it was my blog, which I refused to give up. For what? To be a goody two shoes under the party control freakism. To take down posts with are embarrassing - NEVER. Do as you are told and shut up - not my nature. Most people don't know the real truth and keep speculating. I've still got my resignation letter to prove it. Maybe it is time to publish it. Would make waves. If you are somebody in the party you can’t resign with dignity they try and wripe the floor with you to show you who is the boss.

Why many LibDems don't like to hear mention of my blog is because for years I was so intertwined with the party at the highest level even helping a HQ so I know who is who, the way they think and operate and the campaigning methods. I'm not somebody who lives in the sticks just reading what is going on.

They are just scared of what I might say and try to put a lid on it. There are some real dipsticks in the party who are living in cuckoo-land.

I've remained in the greater family as a supporter up to now even canvassing and delivering leaflets but if the political climate radically changes I may change my mind. I'm not wasting my vote. Nobody wants to back losers.

Noticed so many blogs are classified according to who they support and not if they are party members.

So thank you Iain keep me under the LibDem umbrella for NOW

Darren said...

An SPGBer in at 299!

As it should be.

Neil Williams said...

A rather right wing view of UK Blogs I think!

206 Lenin's Tomb - I cant believe it! Anyone who who is Socialist and interested in UK Blogs would place Lenin's Tomb in their top 20.

And my own Blog - the Respect Supporters Blog (posting daily for the last three years)not even in the top 300 yet in the top 20-30 best Blogs list on the Socialist Unity site best Blogs list.

I think a more balanced view on UK Blogs is required and there are many great 'left of New Labour' Blogs not even mentioned in your top 300 or were even considered I have no doubt.

Neil Williams
Respect Supporters Blog
http://respectuk.blogspot.com/

Ian said...

How come Times Comment Central is in but not Guardian Comment is Free?

Iain Dale said...

Er, because Times Comment Central is a blog and CommentIsFree isn't. In any case, it didn't get many votes.

Jock Coats said...

Not surprising I get down to 256 or something on a blog url that hasn't been posted to for eleven months now - I wonder who still uses that link and has missed out on a whole year of scintillating content!

Anonymous said...

So where the fuck is Rouge Gunner?

falconian111@gmail.com said...

THIS ARRIVED IN MY INBOX THIS EVENING FROM ZIMBABWE. THE CONTENTS ARE TRULY SCARY. THESE ARE RELATIVES OF MINE - I CAN VOUCH FOR THEIR HONESTY AND SINCERITY. THIS IS A DESPERATE CRY FOR HELP.

PLEASE HELP IT TO REACH THE EYES AND EARS OF EVERYONE IN AUTHORITY WHO IS ABLE TO EXERT PRESSURE TO RELIEVE THIS SITUATION BEFORE A CATASTROPHE OF DESPERATE PROPORTION OCCURS.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP AND CARE.

Subject: Mount Carmel farm - a weekend at home in Zimbabwe...

Please pass this along - perhaps it might reach someone in government who
could find a conscience and be persuaded to sit up and do something
honourable for a change and denouce Mugabe once and for all. (I received
this via a school friend in the US who still has many friends in Zimbabwe -
as do many of us.)
Heather

.... and this a week prior to the "free and fair elections"

Mount Carmel farm - a weekend at home in Zimbabwe...
Sent: 16 June 2008 14:40

Dear all,
It has been quite a weekend.
We were made very aware of impending problems on our Mount Carmel farm
before it even started. Various letters came in as well as verbal warnings
from concerned people all over the district. People were told that Mt.
Carmel cattle and potatoes would be dished out to them. The election
campaign is being fought on "one hundred percent empowerment"
ie. taking everything that belongs to people who are not black and giving
it to Party faithfulls. The Party has got nothing else to offer the
people... People were told if they did not come they would be beaten.
President Mugabe arrived in our little town of Chegutu that afternoon and
people were only informed that morning.
Everyone had to suddenly go to his rally whether they wanted to or not. He
apparently told the people that if the opposition got in it would be war.
The unexpected Presidential rally must have thrown the organisation for the
Mount Carmel "programme" [as it was referred to in a letter from one of the
organisors].
That evening we only ended up with about 500 of the expected 1500 people
that were to come. They were bussed in from all over on tractor trailors,
lorries, car and busses. We even had one bus from Shamva hundreds of kms
away. The drums and chanting started soon after dark. Nearly fifty fires
were lit all around. The leaders were waving guns around and had everyone
doing their bidding. The chanting and sloganeering was military style - all
in unison for hour after hour after hour all the way through the night. We
could not sleep.
When dawn broke and the birds started to call the chanting broke into a
noise that sounded like a terrible swarm of bees on the rampage. We knew
that the beating had then started and we prayed. It turned out that anyone
who they believed had been polling agents at polling stations was covered
in cold water. We had frost that morning and it was cold.
They were then told to beat each other with sticks while the crowd egged
them on. The noise went on for a few hours. Some of them had already run
away. Those people will not vote; still less be polling agents in the next
election because you have to vote in your own ward I understand and they
are designating which polling station too so that they can check who you
voted for.
They had been searched for any cell phones so that they not relay any
atrocities on to anyone. They were told that they would be killed if
information leaked out. Everyone is tight lipped about what went on. Today
they go through the day mechanically with terror written all over them. A
neighbor, Marius Erasmus, drove past on the main road and was
stopped at a road block that they had set up on our road. He managed to get
through that but at the next one they put burning logs on his bonnet and
tried to get into the car. A couple of hundred people came out from the
packshed where the indoctrination was taking place. He managed to reverse
and turn around and get through the other road block taking some rocks on
his windscreen and other places on the car.
Meantime Bruce [Lauras brother] had been at the Chegutu police station
trying to get police out. We had been there on five occasions the previous
week trying to tell Chief Inspector Gunyani and Inspector Manyota and
Assistant Inspector Bupera of what was to take place. We had given two
letters for the attention of the officer in charge, Chief Inspector
Gunyani. Bruce waited for six hours at the police station but could not get
a reaction to stop the beating and dismantle the road blocks. He saw Chief
Inspector Gunyani, Inspector Manyota and Assistant Inspector Bupera amongst
others. It is clear that they are under orders not to react.
Our electricity went down and both cell phone networks also ceased to
operate. We were left with no communications and our way out onto the main
road was sealed off by a road block. We prayed and read psalm 118.
Bruce eventually decided to come out himself. Miraculously, just before he
arrived, the road blocks were dismantled and everyone disappeared. Shortly
after the guards came to tell us of thieves in the maize - about 30 people
were just helping themselves. We caught some of them and chased them off
and recovered their booty.
That evening we got a call from Nettie Rogers who was very badly beaten up
with her husband six weeks ago by Gilbert Moyo and his gang. They had also
had everything from their house and workshops stolen in that raid including
even their clothes. Gilbert Moyo was taken into custody by police but was
then let out again as a hit man. He "hit" Billy and Nova Nicholson in the
area a few nights ago and they had half an hour to get out of their home and
off their farm or end up the same way as Bruce and Nettie had. We do not
know what has been looted there yet.
Bruce and Nettie were staying in a cottage on another farm when Gilbert Moyo
arrived with thirty people and said he was taking the farm for Senator
Madzongwe. They managed to get to the main homestead with the Etheredge
brothers while I went to police with Dirk Visagie.
We spent an hour at the police station but they refused to react as it was
an "issue of land." I told them that disposession of ones home and assault
of ones workers were matters that were important for them to deal with; but
after Bruces six hours fruitless wait for a reaction that morning I knew we
were wasting our time; and so we eventually proceeded to Stockdale to give
whatever support we could.
As it happened an army Major by the name of Indora spoke to Gilbert Moyo
and the Etheredges and Bruce Rogers eventually ended up transporting Moyo
and his gang back to their base 20 km away on Ranwick farm in the early
hours of the morning as the "hit" had not got official sanction. They got to
a road block of 50 ZANU people on the main Concession Hill road but they
were allowed through and back without incident.
Such road blocks are now common at night to stop observors and anyone from
"outside" getting to any pungwes and seeing the atrocities that are taking
place. A friends worker went to their rural area near to the Nyamapanda
border post to see his elderly mother last month. In these areas any
movement needs official sanction from the Party and written ZANU permits are
even required to visit the next ward in many places. I have seen such
permits.
The friends worker was stopped at a road block and had to wait 2 days to get
someone to vouch for him. During that time 4 people who had not got anyone
to vouch for them were asked if they wore long sleeves or short sleeves. The
first replied "short sleeves". They cut his right arm off at the top with an
axe. The other three replied "long sleeves". They cut each of their right
hands off. He said that he saw the hands wriggling on the ground detatched
from their owners. Those hands can not vote any more. I have heard of many
other hands like that.
It seemed macabre that Bruce who was so badly assaulted by Moyo 6 weeks ago
was taking him back to "his" home scott free. Presumably all Bruces worldly
possessions are now in that place that they took him to. Nettie asked Bruce
to look out for their dog which also disappeared on the 6 May; but they most
probably killed it. Bruce saw no evidence of it.
There appears to be no sign of any SADC observors out here. A friend said
he had seen some sipping drinks and reading the newspapers in the Meikles
hotel in Harare over the weekend. Voter registration goes on even now.
The old people at Greenways Old Peoples home say they are now off the voters
role but the ones that are dead are still on...
Meanwhile the atrocities go on at the all night pungwes and the people
tremble with fear. I read that the observors are officially not allowed out
after dark because their safety can not be guaranteed. They need to defy
that and get out and see with their own eyes these things if they care at
all.
We ask you to pray and send brave people and peace keepers to stop the
atrocities before they get even worse. Maybe I write this in vain; but I
write this crying.
With love in Christ who is our Saviour whatever happens,
Ben.

Aji said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Kaylee

http://www.craigslisttool.info

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Couple of guys said...

I think that the coalition will come under serious strain after the autumn spending review, and particularly now as the IFS have deemed the emergency budget to be unfair and regressive



Check out my satrical political / current affairs blog at:



www.two-musketeers.blogspot.com