Friday, February 27, 2009

The Ten Best Written Political Blogs

A lot has been said about the fact that the Orwell Prize is, for the first time, awarding a prize for blogging. The shortlist of twelve bloggers is HERE. I've thought quite a bit about how blogging has developed as a communications medium over the last few days as I am writing about it elsewhere. And although there's an awful lot of crap in the blogosphere, there are some absolutely beautiful writers out there, who would never have come to prominence without it. Here are the ten bloggers (in no particular order) who I consider to be the best writers - forget their views, concentrate on the quality of their writing...

Ministry of Truth
Left wing essayist who often writes 1,000 words when 100 will do, but they are all beautifully and forensically crafted.

Burning our Money
Ex Treasury official Mike Denham is brilliant at mixing wit with superb analysis of how the government seems intent on wasting our money.

Dizzy Thinks
Phil Hendren is a great example of someone outside the Westminster Village who has proved he can write about politics as well as anyone else. His Times articles prove it. Can be brilliantly sarcastic.

People's Republic of Mortimer
Alix Mortimer's flights of fancy are a joy. Her writing style combines humour with searing critique. For a LibDem she's actually very funny. And that's why she's on the Orwell shortlist.

Hopi Sen
On the Orwell list and deservedly so. Has the potential to be Labour's number 1 blogger, but does he have the self confidence? His writing ability cannot be questioned. He's also a thoroughly nice bloke.

Tom Harris
My favourite Labour blogger is also the funniest on the left - not that he's got much competition. He's also the smoothest and wittiest writer in the left of centre blogosphere. His sardonic sense of irony guaranteed him a place on the Orwell shortlist.

Sadie's Tavern
Her blogging is too sporadic which implies she doesn't really quite understand just what a brilliant writer she can be. But she has to be herself. No one takes the Michael like Sadie. Her writing ability means that she can go as far as she wants to.

Archbishop Cranmer
His Grace is fluent and erudite and always entertaining whether or not you agree with some of his more dogmatic meanderings. There's no doubt he deserves a column on the Catholic Herald!

Bob Piper
He may be an old leftie but his writings often display a heart of gold. There's a bit of any angry old man about some of his blogposts but it suits his writing style.

Devil's Kitchen
He rants like no one else in the blogosphere. But it's ranting in an eloquent, if sweary, kind of way. Eton taught him a lot.
If you only read those ten blogs each day, you'd get a fair representation of what was happening in the British political blogosphere. And you get a consistently high quiality of writing. Enjoy.


OscarIndia said...

Hmmm - Devil's kitchen. Me thinks you haven't read his late night post last night before writing such lovely things about him.....

Obnoxio The Clown said...

Sadile's Tavern? Think you have a link that needs fixing. And the Tom Harris one, too.

Bob Piper said...

A back-handed compliment if ever I read one. Generous of you to do so all the same, given that you are frequently the victim of my grumpiness. Nothing personal though, just business as Michael Corleone would say.

SamuelCoates said...

Graeme Archer counts surely?

Man in a Shed said...

I would have thought the Catholic Herald was one of the last places you would find Archbishop Cranmer's writing.

For Catholic teaching and propaganda see the Daily Telegraph.

Sixxstring90 said...

I'm hoping Iain that when you wrote ''quaility'' it was an intentional mistake

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Administrator said...

You missed me out of the list Iain!

Newmania said...

I read all those Iain and they are all good except Sadies Tavern which is a childlike smug fest all but wrapped in wallpaper. Its hard for me to imagine how anyone who actually speaks English could write a worse blog.
Why not exchange her twitter for Raedwald who may not be well connected or a wannabe journalist but is a true voice of One Nation Conservatism with a naturally elegant prose style and a unique intelligence

And just to show bear Mz. Smith no malice and am not blindly partisan I would also say that Liberal Conspiracy is the best site in the blogasphere although I cannot stand Sunny Hundal who is responsible for it .As far as I know he detests me . Still , idiot though he may be he has constructed a fantastic lively site full of thought provoking material .

Me vs Maradona vs Elvis said...

How you can think Bob Piper's blog is anything other than execrable baffles me. He's not "a bit of an old leftie with a heart of gold" - he's a Tory-hating, Thatcher-loathing, miner-loving lunatic who's still stuck in the 1970s where he belongs.

Ross said...

"Left wing essayist who often writes 1,000 words when 100 will do, but they are all beautifully and forensically crafted."

The excess verbiage is to distract readers from actually noticing that he is waffling on about irrelavent nonsense to distract from the weakness of the main argument.

Unknown said...

I must say I can't get enthusiastic about that list -

Devils Kitchen thinks swearing is a substitute for wit,

Bob Piper's is just garbage - full of cut 'n' pastes from other bloogers aka 'hat-tips'.

Harris' is OK but not really a political blog unless his myriad of tedious '...but look at the Tories' posts counts. His Dr Who posts are probably interesting if you watch Dr Who (I don't)

Sadies Tavern - if you're 'sporadic' you ain't a blogger. :-(

Haven't read any of the rest of them.

And of course the biggest farce is the exclusion of Guido Fawkes who is light years ahead of any other political blogger. The only shame about his site are the windowlickers' 'hilarious' comments.

Alix said...


To deserve such praise, I'd really better scrape some of the crap off the top of my blog. Currently heading the list are a breathless party paean and a too-long thinkpiece about medievalism and Red Toryism. Oh dear. Private Eye I am not.

subrosa said...

It's all very well you nominating the 'best written' blogs Iain but not everyone has a degree in English or journalism. In fact at times I don't feel like reading lengthy articles, although that's not to say I don't appreciate well written articles.

The blogosphere has given so many the opportunity to express their views and that's to be applauded.

One blogger I know, who is seriously dyslexic but a wonderful debater face to face, has taken the plunge in the hope that his spellchecker will be effective.

Shouldn't you have titled it 'Best Written English Political blogs'? :)

Jim Baxter said...

In terms of insight, wit, honesty, and decency I'd say Tom Harris and (grits teeth - praise to the face is open disgrace, although I don't mean it that way) Iain Dale are the best two in the country.

Tom Harris seems to have attracted a right bunch of recurrent oddballs to his comments threads. So unlike Mr Dale's blog. They are like a large, but not too large, highly scabrous, dysfunctional family, frequently at each other's throats. It's better than Eastenders. (RIP the lovely Wendy Richard - Miss Brahms was one of my first loves).

The Grim Reaper said...

Iain Dale said "There's an awful lot of crap in the blogosphere"

Name some of these bloggers then...

Paul Linford said...

What was that about fine wine Iain ;-)?

Devil's Kitchen said...

"Devils Kitchen thinks swearing is a substitute for wit..."

Ah, no: you just think that. I am not trying to be funny: people only think that I am.

I never, ever write a post to make people laugh. Ever. (If they do laugh, then great; that is not, however, the intention.)


WV: "scent". No kidding.