Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Total Politics Top 100 UK Political Blogs

You will be relieved to hear that this is the final blogging list. More than 1,140 of you voted in the poll and more than 75 blogs encouraged their readers to take part. This is not a scientific poll, and has never pretended to be, but because of the number of people taking part and the number of blogs promoting it, it is certainly more representative this year than in 2007 and 2006.

The voting system used to compile this list was simple. Bloggers and blog readers were asked to rank their top ten blogs and then email them to Total Politics. The results were then fed into a spreadsheet, with the top blog getting ten points, the second blog nine points, and so on.
In total, people voted for more than 590 different blogs. I only list the Top 100 here, but the Top 200 will be printed in the book (published tomorrow) which you can buy HERE. You will also be able to download it as a free pdf from the Total Politics website from next week.

All the lists contained in the rest of the book are also compiled directly from this main list. So for the first time each list I have published in the last two weeks and featured in the book has been voted or by the public, rather than compiled by an expert panel of bloggers.

The top positions in the Top 200 list are similar to last year’s, although six blogs have broken into the Top 20 – Tom Harris MP, Dan Hannan MEP, Three Line Whip, Hopi Sen, LibDem Voice and John Redwood MP.
• Out of the Top 20, fifteen blogs are on the right and three are on the left.

• Out of the Top 100, 48 blogs are on the right and 30 are on the left.

• The Top 100 features 27 Conservative blogs, 16 Labour and 10 LibDem

• The Top 200 features 37 Conservative blogs, 33 Labour and 21 LibDem

• The Top 500 features 105 Conservative blogs, 74 Labour and 56 LibDem

• Of the Top 500, 170 are on the right and 268 on the left

• 44 out of the Top 100 were not in last year’s Top 100.

Similar to last year, right of centre blogs still dominate the upper reaches of the chart. Last year I predicted that three or four left of centre blogs would challenge at the top. That hasn’t quite happened, although Tom Harris MP and Hopi Sen may well do so in the next twelve months. The left of centre group blog Liberal Conspiracy is also set to break into the top 20 and has grown in popularity in a very short time.

Voting this year appeared to come from a much wider range of bloggers than before, mainly because around 75 different blogs advertised the vote on their sites. Liberal Conspiracy encouraged a boycott of the whole exercise as they felt that because it was being organized by someone on the right, right wing bloggers would be the only beneficiaries. The boycott was boycotted by most blogs on the left, and for good reason if you look at the fact that there are now far more left of centre blogs in the Top 500 than right of centre ones – 268 to 170. The challenge now for those blogs is to turn their numerical superiority into extra readers who stick with them.

Up to now, I have been relatively dismissive of left of centre blogs as I felt they tended to very insular and only spoke to themselves. Successful blogs tend to attract readers from all over the political spectrum, and are not just echo chambers. At least, that’s one definition of success. Blogs like Hopi Sen and the LibDem People’s Republic of Mortimer have risen high in the chart because they were very well written, at times quite humorous, but also provide an insight for outsiders to the way their political mindset works.

Then, of course, there are the so-called Marmite blogs – the ones you either love or hate. Donal Blaney, Devil’s Kitchen and Nadine Dorries on the right, and to a lesser extent Recess Monkey on the left, have all carved out that particular niche for themselves.

It has been hugely disappointing that the last twelve months has seen no rise in the number of blogging MPs. The only notable arrival is Labour Minister Tom Harris. Our politicians seem to love reading blogs but fear writing them. Perhaps that will never change, but those who fear blogging should look at the example of John Redwood whose blog has become required reading for anyone interested in economic policy. But not only is he attracting regular readers on the right, he’s also getting the media reading his blog, and people on the left.

The main blogs have all experienced a continuing rise is readers. This year has seen huge controversies in the blogging world about the way in which blog statistics are counted. Most bloggers now use Google Analytics to count their readers, with Absolute Unique Visitors as the yardstick by which blogs are judged. Newspaper websites still use pageviews as their method of counting readers.

Guido Fawkes became the first blogger to reach 100,000 absolute unique visitors in any one month, with my blog reaching 70,000. But you don’t have to go much further down the Top 10 to find blogs which struggle to reach 20,000. PoliticalBetting has never published its absolute unique visitor count but boasts of being the most popular blog in the country by virtue of the fact that it has more than 1 million pageviews a month. What it doesn’t tell you is that many of its readers spend all evening on the site hitting refresh.

An interesting move in the last few months was the purchase by the New Statesman of LabourHome. They apparently paid more than £50,000, which for a blog which attracts a relatively small readership was quire some feat for its owners Alex Hilton and Jag Singh. It has struggled to emulate its Conservative equivalent because it has never had a full time editor. Guido Fawkes reckoned his site was now worth in excess of £1 million based on the valuation of LabourHome, but he misses an important point. Single person blogs are valueless to an outside buyer without the person who made the blog successful in the first place. They can only ever gain any value by moving within the ambit of the mainstream media.

What will the next twelve months bring? Here are seven predictions…

• Labour blogs will become more prominent as the media seeks controversial views on the Labour leadership

• The MSM will make further efforts to lure several of the more well known bloggers to blog for them

LibDem Voice will receive a cash injection similar to LabourHome from a rich LibDem donor

• One big blogger will shock the blogging world by giving up

• Liberal Conspiracy will make headway in the next twelve months and double its readership

ConservativeHome will undergo a transformation with Tim Montgomerie concentrating on other projects and Jonathan Isaby giving the site a makeover

• Blog readership will increase by 50%

So, here, at long last is the Top 100... Remember, it's not meant to be scientific, and has never pretended to be!
Last year's position is in brackets. You can see positions 200-101 on the Total Politics Campaigns Blog HERE.

1. (2)
Guido Fawkes
2. (1) Iain Dale
3. (4) Conservative Home
4. (3) Dizzy Thinks
5. (-) Political Betting
6. (-) Devil's Kitchen
7. (9) Spectator Coffee House
8. (12) Burning our Money
9. (42) John Redwood
10. (14) Ben Brogan
11. (20) EU Referendum
12. (15) Tim Worstall
13. (-) Tom Harris MP
14. (13) Archbishop Cranmer
15. (54) LibDem Voice
16. (16) Mr Eugenides
17. (-) Hopi Sen
18. (85) Daniel Hannan MEP
19. (-) Three Line Whip
20. (70) Stumbling & Mumbling
21. (35) Donal Blaney
22. (128) Boulton & Co
23. (-) Liberal Conspiracy
24. (8) Nick Robinson
25. (-) People's Republic of Mortimer
26. (11) Recess Monkey
27. (56) Adam Smith Institute
28. (27) Comment Central
29. (72) Luke Akehurst
30. (47) Waendel Journal
31. (38) LabourHome
32. (30) Ministry of Truth
33. (22) Tom Watson MP
34. (33) Nadine Dorries
35. (46) Dave's Part
36. (-) Letters from a Tory
37. (17) Norfolk Blogger
38. (-) Shane Greer
39. (-) Sadie's Tavern
40. (45) Samizdata
41. (32) Slugger O'Toole
42. (111) A Very British Dude
43. (21) Harry's Place
44. (-) SNP Tactical Voting
45. (61) Quaequam Blog
46. (104) UK Polling Report
47. (182) Socialist Unity
48. (59) Daily Referendum
49. (53) Liberal England
50. (172) Lynne Featherstone MP
51. (18) Paul Linford
52. (68) City Unslicker/Capitalists at Work
53. (51) Our Kingdom
54. (-) Labour Outlook
55. (63) Millennium Dome Elephant
56. (155) Paul Scully
57. (-) A Very Public Sociologist
58. (90) Peter Black AM
59. (78) Glyn Davies
60. (195) Obsolete
61. (99) Ordovicius
62. (-) UK Libertarian Party
63. (40) Biased BBC
64. (7) Croydonian
65. (69) James Cleverly
66. (-) Is There More to Life Than Shoes
67. (-) J Arthur MacNumpty
68. (120) Normblog
69. (-) Raedwald
70. (-) Three Thousand Versts
71. (-) Tory Bear
72. (-) Miss Wagstaff Presents
73. (52) Bloggers4Labour
74. (-) Pint of Unionist Lite
75. (151) Theo's Blog
76. (-) Kezia Dugdale's Soapbox
77. (71) Beau Bo D'Or
78. (25) Bob Piper
79. (-) David Cornock
80. (-) Forgesian Thinking
81. (-) Heresy Corner
82. (103) Love & Liberty
83. (125) The Daily (Maybe)
84. (161) Peter Hitchens
85. (81) Melanie Phillips
86. (0) Redemption's Son
87. (10) Ellee Seymour
88. (0) Lenin's Tomb
89. (83) Liberal Burblings
90. (-) Scottish Tory Boy
91. (-) Stuart King
92. (86) Matt Wardman
93. (34) Pickled Politics
94. (0) Ewan Watt
95. (41) An Englishman's Castle
96. (0) Centre Right
97. (0) Never Trust a Hippy
98. (0) Red Box
99. (76) Chris Paul's Labour of Love
100. (50) Last Ditch

If your blog features in this list, or any of the others, click HERE to get a sidebar button.

All the blog lists, along with articles by leading bloggers are published in the Guide to Political Blogging in the UK 2008-9 which is published tomorrow and will be available at all the party conferences. You can now also pre-order it via the Total Politics website for £12 inc p&p. You will receive it in mid September.


Jim Jepps said...

Just one green in the list? We'll do better next year!

Anonymous said...

Hope you're not the 'big blogger' who'll shock us by giving up...

rob's uncle said...

Re: 'What it doesn’t tell you is that many of its readers spend all evening on the site hitting refresh.' my imression is that many of its readers spend all the working day hitting refresh - when one imagines they should be getting on with something at least nominally useful and important to whoever pays their wages.

rob's uncle said...

Off topic but of interest: Time [Sep 03: Joe Klein] on the very wonderful and fragrant Ms Palin:

' . . it is important for the public to know that Palin raised taxes as governor, supported the Bridge to Nowhere before she opposed it, pursued pork-barrel projects as mayor, tried to ban books at the local library and thinks the war in Iraq is "a task from God." The attempts by the McCain campaign to bully us into not reporting such things are not only stupidly aggressive, but unprofessional in the extreme.'

Snagged from:

Unknown said...

Labour blogs will become more prominent...

Absolutely: would be nice for the most numerous section of the political blogosphere to get its due at long last.

Death to the MSM.

Anonymous said...

This must be a con.I can't believe the incisive ruminations of Dirty European Socialist are not in the top ten blogs. I will not believe that you have conducted this poll fairly until I see DES in the top ten.

Anonymous said...

What I do not understand is how come Nadine Dorries claims to have 700 monthly hits on her blog (re:Heartbeats posted on her blog 24/07/08)and didn't blog for 5 weeks? This figure is on par with Guildo and far in excess of your figure.For someone (who also stopped her readers comments)who in this poll came no.33 can claim far more readers than those in the no.1 and 2 positions is bewildering.

Anonymous said...

Is this you , Iain,

From the West Wing to West Ham, Barack Obama is in the running for two big jobs.

The Democratic presidential nominee was listed as a 10,000-1 shot to take over Premier League football club West Ham on Wednesday after a London-based businessman bet 10 pounds ($17.80) that Obama will replace Alan Curbishley as the team’s manager.

Nich Starling said...

regarding your views on Liberal Conspiracy, it's biggest fault is that it is barely liberal and appears to be a Labour conspiracy to hijack the Liberal brand at a time when calling yourslf Labour is very unpopular. The word "conspiracy" really has meaning in its title as it appears to many Liberal that it is an attempt to be something it is not.

Guido Fawkes said...

Thanks to everyone who voted for Guido. I'd like to thank my daughters who wake me up at 6 in the morning. Blogging is the alternative to watching "Bob the Builder".

Will try to do better next year...

The Grant Maker said...

Please reassure that it's not you that's going to give up!

Tapestry said...

If the selection system used hit counters, the list would look completely different.

Why bother with votes? Someone should make a list based on hits. It would be more interesting. This is getting like those awful award ceremonies where the biggest advertisers always seem to win.

Alex said...

Last Blogging List - not possible. What about the Top 100 Lists of Top 10 Blogs?

Anonymous said...

please God no more lists

Anonymous said...

"Will try to do better next year..."

You'd better. Next time it's prison for sure.

Anonymous said...

Lib Dem news to get cash injection from big donor eh??

Let's hope it's Michael Brown again, with some fresh new dodgy cash.

Anonymous said...

Re Iain's and rob's uncle's comments on

One difference between and other blogs is the quality of the comments. I read Iain's and Guido's blogs every couple of days for the quality of the blog itself, but rarely find that the Comments are worth my time. However, is readable for the quality of the discussion in the comments section. Yes the signal to noise ratio is probably only about 30-50% - but in the comments section of other blogs it is quite frankly only 1-2%. So it's a different type of blog - more like a bulletin board - which you would want to look at several times a day if interesting discussions are taking place.

Maybe it's the fact that it's a politically neutral blog that makes it so: the right wing blogs mostly have cringing sycophants and the occasional leftie troll; although is right-leaning it is run by a LibDem and there are some pro-Labour posters including at least one MP.

Andy said...

One can normally judge a blog's relevance or quality by comments on it. Shane Greer at 38 has a blog that nobody reads or comments on. Isn't this list just an insular list of friends talking about friends?

Anonymous said...

I see Bob Piper's gone down the pan.

Anonymous said...

I think you would be crazy to pack it in. Ok so Guido took the top spot from you.. so what.. his Blog is the Sun (I like it).

You just need to up the game a bit.. stop publishing lists of stuff and posts about posts on other blogs (that's what's hurting your readership)

Do more in depth stuff, use your political network to get insightful thought provoking stuff that makes really compelling reading and retake the ground. You are in a better position as a skilled interviewer than anyone else out there.

You are a pioneer. You, more than any other blogger have been personally responsible for inspiring other bloggers and catalysing the political blogosphere in this country.

Our democracy needs this - so rebuild your belief, don't put all your eggs in the 'old media' basket and take things to the next level.

The positive point of falling off your perch is that it energizes you to get back there but with new innovation. Get on with it.

Anonymous said...

Iain: Every time you've linked to Tim Worstall in these lists, you have linked to his 'tabloid edition', rather than his actual political blog.

Anonymous said...

"I see Bob Piper's gone down the pan."

Bob Piper told his readers that he was boycotting the poll, so they probably didn't vote for him. Iain included Bob anyway, which was generous of him.

Anonymous said...

Iain: Every time you've linked to Nadine Dorries in these lists, you have linked to her 'website', rather than an actual political blog.

Jeff said...

Hi Iain,

Good to see the SNP blogs shining brightly in yellow as opposed to the rather odd blue in the Scottish list.

Thanks for your effort in getting these lists up and running. Highly enjoyable to see the results for various categories.

Jeff (SNP Tactical Voting)

Gareth said...


How have you defined left and right; and how have you decided who is left and who is right?

Iain Dale said...

Toque, Not sure I understand what is behind your question, but it's quite clear whether most blogs are on the right or left. If we're not sure we tend to put them under Non Aligned. They are all in the Total Politics Blog Database. We have corrected any errors we have been alerted to.

Gareth said...

I was wondering whether there was a criteria or whether it was just a judgement call.

I was centre-right and I just wondered why.

Matt Wardman said...

>Newspaper websites still use pageviews as their method of counting readers.

That actually changed at the end of 2006. Now they cannot get a Page Impressions report from the ABCe without a Unique Users report:

They are currently thinking about moves towards measuring time on the site.

Thanks very much for the lists again.


Anonymous said...

No sign of Push Jelly on that list:

Anonymous said...

Iain, many (belated) congratulations on putting this thing together. It was obviously quite an effort!

Out of curiosity; the PDF booklet version mentions that the remaining 300-500 are on the TP website, but I can't seem to find them anywhere. Are there plans to produce a list of these lower entries?

Jeff said...

Hi Iain,

Not sure if this'll reach you it being so late in the day but I was wondering why the Total Politics Top 50 blogs on your web don't agree to the Top 50 in this post. (Yes, I am unashamedly chuffed to make No. 44 which is the main reason for my flagging this.)

Maybe the 2 lists aren't supposed to correlate or maybe it's a work in progress, but I just thought I'd mention it.


Iain Dale said...

Jeff, I don't understand what you are saying. Which two lists?

Jeff said...

Thanks for that, apologies for being somewhat vague.

There's a link on your front page "Iain Dale's Top 50 blogs". It links to here:

The 50 blogs included are not the same as the top 50 per the final results of the voting.

I have, however, just realised that this may be your own personal top 50 which I have no right to force myself onto so if that's the case then by all means, apologies for the interruption to whatever you were doing...



Iain Dale said...

Jeff, those are my own personal favourites, nothing to do with the vote.

Leah & Robin Darbyshire said...

I don’t agree with you re. the People’s Republic of Mortimer, Iain.

It’s a really boring blog and it doesn’t appear as if she has any life outside of politics which only goes to prove, as I had already thought, that most *other* bloggers are saddos or geeks with no social or personal lives at all. Christ, she still lives with her parents at 29, how sad can you get!

I’m personally only interested in blogs of people I either a) know or b) whose well-rounded lives interest me somehow.

Plus I found it really amusing and you might be interested to discover that the Lib Dems*still* spend their time talking about me and my husband when they should be electioneering - TWO AND A HALF YEARS after we left the party. Maybe that’s why they haven’t been able to win any by-elections since we left? Talk about obsessed. We’re way too busy as a working family.

You could give Alix Mortimer an award for *Bitch* of the Year instead if you like. Despite having never met me before in her life she saw it fit (as did her geeky “boyfriend) a few months ago to write a load of crap about me on the web and gave a verdict about an incident which happened before she was even a member of the Party which she therefore knows diddly squat about and still hasn’t apologised to me for it even though I pointed out that she doesn’t know me, wasn’t there at the time and therefore is in no position to comment.

I also think anyone who thinks writing “politics” as “pollyticks” or using the non-existent word “aten’t” is funny is probably more immature than my one year old daughter and that for someone who is nearly 30 she badly needs to grow up and act her age.

When the political blogging community starts recognising people with interesting lives (not sad ones) and stands up against mass cyber bullying as experienced (and still experienced) by myself and my husband (rather than jumping on the bandwagon as most of the blogging twats did) that’s when you might get more normal people tuned into political blogging. Cyber bullying, I note, is now recognised as a problem and a crime and I had to make two separate police reports against Lib Dem members during the relentless and entirely unnecessary hate campaign we suffered.

When I told my normal friends what Mortimer and her crew were still saying recently I got the response that “Those Lib Dem/bloggers SERIOUSLY need to get a life.” Yep. That is, I am afraid, what normal, non-political people like us still think of you all.

We, by the way, still get messages from people who miss our blog and enjoyed it for what it was. I expect they were probably normal people too.

Leah Darbyshire (Mrs)
(yes, because despite all the sad bloggers’ predictions our marriage is as happy as ever. Ha bloody ha.).

john problem said...

It was horrible, absolutely horrible, not seeing my cute little site on this list. Am I allowed to advertise here? Well. hopefully - so here goes:

Thanks very much and have a nice day.

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