Monday, September 24, 2007

Guide to Blogging 2007: Top 100 Liberal Democrat Blogs

The GUIDE TO POLITICAL BLOGGING 2007 is being published on Monday. Featured among the 288 pages are a myriad of blog lists. Now for the TOP 100 LIBERAL DEMOCRAT BLOGS.

This year’s Top 100 Liberal Democrat blogs has been chosen by a panel of LibDem bloggers. This means that comparisons to last year’s chart are difficult to draw as that was chosen by a panel of one – me. However, there are some interesting pointers, nonetheless.

The number one LibDem blogger this year is Jonathan Calder’s Liberal England blog. Jonathan writes the Lord Bonkers column in Liberal Democrat News, but he is anything but bonkers himself! His blog carries a mixture of LibDem commentary, general political comment and a few personal observations thrown in for good measure. He deserves his pole position.

Stephen Tall has emerged in the last twelve months as a key player in the Liberal Democrat blogosphere. His own A Liberal Goes a Long Way blog won last year’s Liberal Democrat blog of the year, awarded by the Libdems at their party conference, and he has become a familiar face as the LibDem blogger who most appears on the media. Recently he has taken over as commissioning editor of LibDem Voice, which, it is to be hoped, does not see a decline in his own blog. Stephen is not one to write short snappy posts. He has an erudite, if sometimes academic, style, which means that his posts have a clear beginning, middleand end. He’s a blogger who makes the reader think about their own position on an issue, and you can hardly pay a higher compliment than that.

The highest new entry is Nich Starling’s Norfolk Blogger blog. Bearing in mind that in the Top 500 chart this is the top ranked LibDem blog, it’s somewhat surprising to see him languishing in twelfth place in this chart. Obviously fellow LibDems don’t think of highly of his blog as his political opponents. Indeed, many of his votes in the Top 500 came from Conservatives. He was also scandalously overlooked in the LibDems' own blog awards. Nich has stated that he has modelled his blog on my own. I leave it to others to judge a) whether that was a good idea and b) whether it has worked. He’s certainly prolific, but I wonder whether that sometimes detracts from some of his better posts. He’s far too ready to go on the attack sometimes, but hey, why not?

James Graham’s Quaequam blog is consistently good. He’s another blogger who can’t see an opponent without hitting below the belt, but his writing style and general background knowledge of constitutional reform issues make him an increasing must-read for people across the political spectrum.

One of the sadder developments in the LibDem blogosphere this year has been the decline of LibDem Voice. At one stage it looked as if it might disappear altogether when its creator, Rob Fenwick, decided he had had enough. In the end a collective of libdems bloggers including Mark Pack, Stephen Tall and Ryan Cullen came to the rescue. It does seem, however, to have become a party mouthpiece with Mark Pack, a senior LibDem employee writing the majority of the posts. [correction - Mark P informs me he now only writes 10% of the posts - when I wrote this piece in July it certainly seemed as if he wrote the majority!] It’s lost that certain ‘spark’ which Rob Fenwick gave it, and it doesn’t question LibDem officialdom in the way that Conservative Home does.

If I were to pick out one LibDem blogger who had the potential to make the bigtime it’s James Oates from Cicero’s Songs. He’s a consistently brilliant writer, who provides insight with every blogpost. If he posted more often and updated his blog design he would be in the top three next year.

As a Conservative I probably read more LibDem blogs than most others. I find them consistently more entertaining than Labour blogs, as their authors tend to inject their own personalities into their blogs in a way that Labour bloggers tend not to.

It’s clear that LibDem have harnessed the blogosphere well, and their influence is likely to grow over the next twelve months. I’m not sure what it says about their leader that his blog is rated 100 out of 100 by LibDem bloggers, but they say that the exception proves the rule. The LibDem blogosphere is undoubtedly in rude health.

The second number listed is the position in the 2006 chart.
49 18 John Hemming MP
50 20 Ballots, Balls & Bikes
51 NEW Greengauge 52 58 Rick's St Mary's Diary 53 NEW Home Office Watch 54 NEW Lindyloo's Muze 55 43 Arwen Folkes 56 61 Liberal Legend 57 NEW Process Guy 58 16 Suz Blog 59 Bernard Woolley 60 34 Sajjad Karim MEP 61 25 Charles Anglin 62 NEW Barcharters Anonymous 63 NEW Liberal Leslie 64 NEW Hooting Yard 65 28 Progressive Politics 66 NEW Disgruntled Radical 67 59 Simon Jeram 68 NEW Joe's Extra Bold Blog 69 NEW Mark Young 70 NEW Belsize Libdems 71 NEW Hunting for Witches 72 NEW All Along the Watchtower 73 50 Ryan Cullen 74 32 Agent Mancuso 75 23 Liberal Action 76 NEW The 3 P's 77 48 Chris & Glynis Abbott 78 52 Paula Keaveney 79 NEW Ann Garner 80 35 And Then He Said 81 NEW A Radical Writes 82 NEW JohnBM:Liberal 83 73 Neil Woolcott 84 NEW Liberal Polemic 85 NEW Freethink 86 NEW Voice of Young Liberal Democrats 87 14 Eric Avebury 88 79 Oliver's Battery & Badger Farm 89 NEW Long Despairing Young Something 90 NEW Anything Caron Can Do 91 29 Forceful & Moderate 92 69 Fraser MacPherson 93 NEW Ian Eiloart 94 75 Stodge 95 NEW 5tracks 96 92 David Walker 97 89 Flock Together 98 NEW de moribus liberalibus 99 98 MKNE Political Information 100 100 Ming Campbell


Newmania said...

I agree . In the last year or two I have slowly moved from a grim camaraderie with Labour against the sham progressives to noticing that Liberals often have a lot of really interesting new thinking to offer.

Its the Party itself thats the problem .Amnesty for illegals ,pacifist to the point of collaboration and above all with an inconsistent attachment to big government high taxes and meddling that cannot be reconciled with the wish for Liberality.The consistent motive however is a sort of humanity that is not unattractive and human beings are often subject to conflicting desires
I cling to the belief that there are many Liberals who could find a place in the Conservative Party and I am convinced until the Party is broad enough at least to talk on good terms ,with them , then we can expect to be out of power. In the past I have regarded the Liberal Party as a rabble or catch all repository for self congratulators. It now appears that the only Party that is immune to disagreement is the Labour Party at least in public. This may be because Liberals and Conservatives Party’s tolerate difference value democracy and cherish honest debate in slightly different ways .
I wonder if there isn`t something we have in common that is more important than that which what divides they say.

Not that anyone cares what I think of course but if Cameron fauls and the Party goes back into its shell then it will cease to have any right to be taken .seriously

Praguetory said...

Good compilation. All my favourites in the top 50.

Cicero said...

Well, thank you for your warm words *blush*. Good to think that my own side appreciate my speculative thoughts... I have not had vast amounts of time to write, so putting together 30 blogs a month is a bit tricky- and in any event only say 20% would be any good- will think about design though...

Anonymous said...

When I saw the title "100 best liberal demcorat blogs", I thought it was a joke. Does it end at number 10 or something?

Richard Gadsden said...

Just a correction: it's Quaequam (not quaquem) Blog!, and the Blog and the exclamation mark are important - it's a reference to "Quaequam Blag!" in 2000AD

Ryan said...

And again Susanne Lamido is listed as a LibDem Blogger, yet she was expelled from the Party in December 2006.

Sir-C4' said...

Ming Campbell has a blog? Perhaps it's being ghost-written for him by Mark Oaten.

Nich Starling said...

Thanks Iain, You are too kind.

Praguetory said...

If Suz Lamido held no residual affection for the Lib Dems, we would have had a few interesting headlines this year. Nice to see some Lib Dems continue to goad her.

Andy said...

Well I am quite happy with that position, given the sporadic nature of my posting. Just one particularly pedantic correction, though: Although I can't find last year's listing right now, I could swear I was listed, somewhere around 96?

Anyway, that seems like a pretty fair listing, so well done for devising the system you did, Iain, it seems to have worked.

Anonymous said...

The link to the LibDem Voice seems to be wrong.

Anonymous said...

Compare numbers 40 and 59...

Jonathan Calder said...

Thanks very much, Iain.

I am particularly grateful for the "he is anything but bonkers himself".

Incidentally, Lord Bonkers' Diary appears in Liberator. My column in Liberal Democrat News is called House Points.

Anonymous said...

LDV is consistently boring and dull. I thought 'Fenners' was a c*ap editor of the site ( and he was coming across as being somewhat 'highly strung') and a change would do it good. How wrong i was! I think the problem with the site now is that Stephen (£8k Cllr's expenses-HOW!!!) Tall is i) trying too hard;ii) has 'i want to be a LibbyDem MP' written all over him. I do read it regularly just to see what on EARTH they are on about and how they go explaining their ridiculous positions on policy etc.

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