Not supporting Iain Dale’s top blogs competition


3:07 pm - July 21st 2008

by Sunny Hundal    


      Share on Tumblr

Tory blogger Iain Dale wants to do his annual ‘which are the top political blogs‘ competition again and is inviting submissions to through this post.

He’s asked us to link to it naturally, but this year I won’t be submitting a list of my top blogs. Other liberl-left bloggers are welcome to make their own submissions but I would also urge them to boycott this exercise.

Now, I have nothing against Iain Dale personally – he’s a lovely chap and I was invited to the Total Politics event and we had a good chat. But Iain Dale is trying to position himself as the granddaddy of the entire British blogosphere by doing these lists and I think his editorial approach to blogging makes me hard to take that seriously.

For a start there is the obvious bias – most of the participants will be his own readers and they will inevitably skew the results. As Chris Dillow said last year, “people who like blogs like Iain Dale’s like blogs like Iain’s – whoda thunk?

And this feeds into the narrative that left-liberal blogs are non-existent and boring and there’s nothing going on there. The Tories are always desperate to push this idea that they dominate the British blogosphere and no one else is worth listening to. The lazy journalists who can’t be arsed to do any original research buy into this.

Iain has asked others to run this on their own blogs so he could get a more representative sample, but here’s the second problem – a lot of people don’t like reading Iain Dale’s blog because of the way he writes.

For example, in this post where Iain Dale props up his mate Guido Fawkes’ lame-duck vendetta against the Smith Institute, he says:

Incredibly left wing blogs are trying to claim that the Smith Institute has been totally vindicated by the Charity Commission report. Delusional.

But why not link to what those blogs are really saying so you could let them speak for themselves? This is just bad etiquette isn’t it?

When Iain wants to rubbish left-wing blogs and misrepresent them for a particular issue, then he has a habit of not linking to what they’re actually saying. But at other times he wants their support to make a representative ‘top blogs’ list.

It’s this sort of partisan behaviour that makes me think Iain is probably not the right person to position himself as the grand-daddy of British blogs. And if he did want to, then he really should try harder to avoid misrepresenting left-wing blogs if they disagree with what him and his mates are saying.

He’s entertaining, sure, but at best this is an ego-massaging exercise which will inevitably push their own narrative that left-blogs are useless and not worth reading. I don’t want to feed into that.

Update: Bob Piper gets it.

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: Blog ,Media

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


I don’t see what this is supposed to achieve, apart from making you look bitter. Like it or not, the Iain Dale/Total Politics list is the de facto blog popularity chart (mainly by virtue of being the only one!)

I’d have thought it’d make more sense to encourage everyone to vote, and push left blogs further up the list.

You can vote by e-mail if you don’t want to visit Iain Dale’s blog.

So have we got a more independent organisation lined up to get an idea of peoples “top blogs”? It’s all well and good complaining about Iain Dale’s grandstanding as all ruling emperor of the blogging world but I know I got switched on to several good blogs through the last top 100’s (or whatever it was) he ran. I don’t suppose for a second he will be as good as to split out multiple lists again but at least it’s something, and surely that’s better than an insulated incestuous nothing, no?

I could have swore at the blogging event we all were in agreement that greater networking of blogs to spread the word was needed. Not supporting and not submitting names to Iain Dale’s list doesn’t help that at all and has no chance to do so, why play a losing game?

Shouldn’t we be offering to create an alternative blog digest? I mean if Iain Dale is the only one stepping up to the plate we can hardly complain if the ball is played a certain way now can we?

@Lee G: I don’t suppose for a second he will be as good as to split out multiple lists again but at least it’s something

According to the post at Dale’s, the book will again contain “series of Top 20s and Top 10s”.

Not sure if it’ll be done all from the same set of votes (which if so would make it all the more important to vote this time, IMHO) or separately.

I only just saw it’s for a repeat prescription of the book, so yeah perhaps it will. His wording on his blog suggested only one singular top 100 list.

Not supporting and not submitting names to Iain Dale’s list doesn’t help that at all and has no chance to do so, why play a losing game?

Not sure how this is a losing game, especially since the list doesn’t really help drive readers to other blogs.

I would more appreciate it if Iain linked to a wide range of blogs during regular blogging, and to link to left blogs if he wants to criticise them for something they’re saying.

As for an alternative blog digest – we have one here, and I try and link to other bloggers writing on related issues anyway. Its not hard to find good or interesting blogs if you look hard enough!

QT – this was just a commentary on his top blogs comp. Not sure how I’m supposed to be ‘bitter’. I’m not holding an alternative competition.

Sunny, I am afraid this was a predictable reaction. I have tried, through this excercise, to make both people within the blogging world and all our readers more aware of blogs which don’t necessarily attract the number of readers your blog or my blog does. This is not an exercise in trying to prove how wonderful right of centre blogs are, or left of centre ones. it’s trying to look at what’s out there and get a wider audience. In the last book there were thirty or so articles, many by people on the left. I have absolutely no agenda with this book whatsoever, and I’d be grateful if you didn’t try to impugn one. As someone said above, it’s quite open to anyone else to do a similar exercise. I just happen to have been the onbe to go out there, get the sponsorship to make the thing financially viable. How sad it is that you cannot embrace something which most bloggers see as something which is good for blogging rather than good for Iain Dale.

I hope you will reconsider.

As for an alternative blog digest – we have one here, and I try and link to other bloggers writing on related issues anyway. Its not hard to find good or interesting blogs if you look hard enough!

C’mon mate you know that’s not good enough!

Whether ‘we’ like or not Dale is successful not just because of what he trades in but how. He commits real time, energy and money to his ventures, look at the blog book we’re talking about. It’s going to be published in hard copy, it has advertising to help with publishing costs, he’s going to have stands at the party conferences etc. He’s doing a push on new media; even calling for a boycott is playing into publicising it because those that disagree will be made more aware of it (and some more compelled to feed into it)!

Too often the left like to talk about what it should be doing while the right gets on with doing it.

How sad it is that you cannot embrace something which most bloggers see as something which is good for blogging rather than good for Iain Dale.

Iain – my point isn’t just that this is a ego massaging exercise.

I’ve given specific examples of how your editorial style to blogging, when mis-representing what lefties are saying for example, that makes this list biased from the start anyway.

Your position is highly partisan to start with (and I can offer examples), so you can’t really accuse me of not seeing past this divide.

Sunny, virtually all blogs are partisan. Yours is. You consisently misrepresent me, but I very rarely complain. I just get on with it. This book is not about my blog. It is about the UK political blogosphere. I was actually about to email you to ask you to write an article about your experience of setting up Liberal Conspiracy, but perhaps I shouldn’t bother now! I really think it is an interesting development in the left of centre blogosphere which people elsewhere can learn from.

If you actually looked at last year’s book, you’d find it very difficult to suggest that the book was biased in one direction.

Come on, come out to play!

The right and left bloggers here could spend another 100 comments throwing accusations of partisanship back and forth, but what Lee G, Leon and myself have said already will remain as true as it was in the beginning.

This is not productive.

I wouldn’t call Sunny bitter, but I would call him snobbish. Lists are a very tabloid form of journalism, but they are an established formula for attracting and filtering attention – I guess the ‘left’ just doesn’t stoop so low as to deal with the widest possible audience.

Just to avoid any confusion, the above comment was posted before #10 (Iain) appeared

Just to avoid any confusion, the above comment was posted before #10 (Iain) appeared

We don’t submit our favourites, they have less chance of being picked up as good blogs by those that are new to blogging or the political sphere (as I was just over a year ago), We do submit they have some chance. No-one wins but the right wing submissions if we cross our arms and pout. Though this does assume Iain will be conducting the tallying fairly, which I have no reason to believe otherwise.

It wouldn’t be proper for the left to adopt the tactics of those it defines itself in opposition to – nooo, not if they got there first!

And this feeds into the narrative that left-liberal blogs are non-existent and boring and there’s nothing going on there.

How very dare they.

Why, in only the last couple of days the critical issues of something naughty Guido did and something naughty someone called Harry Cole did have featured on this very blog.
And now the hot news of your Dale boycott.

Yeah, I have to agree with Iain and the others, Sunny.

Sure, the top 100 is likely to be biased in favour of right leaning blogs,cos bloggers that like blogs like Iain Dale’s, like blogs like Iain Dale’s. BUT the world is run by those who turn up and if more progressive bloggers don’t turn up then we can’t complain when it’s not us that gets to run the world.

Would that I had so many readers that I can afford reject some!

However, one thing to do might be to set up Liberal Conspiracy list of Top 100 bloggers as voted for by people who like reading Liberal Conspiracy? It would be very interesting to see the difference1

Jo

It would be somewhat surprising if blogs such as Iain’s didn’t succeed in these competitions. They’re often very popular, they create the competitions and those with differing views are therefore dissuaded from taking part.

I won’t vote, but for a very different reasons than those that Sunny advanced. I’m just far too indecisive.

“However, one thing to do might be to set up Liberal Conspiracy list of Top 100 bloggers as voted for by people who like reading Liberal Conspiracy? It would be very interesting to see the difference1”

Some form of blogroll would be interesting.

BUT the world is run by those who turn up and if more progressive bloggers don’t turn up then we can’t complain when it’s not us that gets to run the world.

Jo – but the assumption here is that we run the world only if we get invited to that party. And then it means we’re invited on those terms.

I don’t have any issue with Iain and I generally stay away from the ‘blogwars’ thing. But if Iain wants to be taken seriously as more balanced when he says he’s reading and representing right and left-wing blogs, then that should be reflected in his editorial. But its not, and that’s my point. So why should we afford any credibility to a back-scratching project that will only tell us what we already know?

After all, if you want a constantly updated measure of which political blogs are being talked about, see Wikio – http://www.wikio.co.uk/blogs/top/politics

So let me see… Iain Dale’s book will be a non-partisan snap-shot of the blogosphere. And then once when it’s out, he will have a flick through and suddenly notice “Hey! All the best blogs are right-wing! And all the left-wing blogs are totally rubbish! Wow, amazing!” And then (strictly impartially) he will remorselessly continue to push till this time next year.

I mean, just read this, from last year’s book:

There are all sorts of theories as to why the left wing blogosphere in Britain hasn’t really taken off, many of which are discussed elsewhere in this book.

And now he comes here, crying crocodile tears because left-wing blogs don’t want to co-operate in his project to denigrate them yet again? Ridiculous man.

[Apologies if this is a duplicate comment – problems.]

That Wikio link is excellent.

I look at most of the “top-rated” political blogs…but I can see myself getting into the gastronomy list now too!

I have only one objection to the Iain Dale list, and it is his rule 4:

“4. Blogs chosen must be listed in the Total Politics Blog Directory.”

Why? Because this is a PR exercise for Total Politics? To ensure the applications only come from certain prescribed blogs? Either way, while you can take it as read that a poll conducted from a right-wing site will result in right-wing blogs predominating, still, a true poll of blogs would not impose this restriction.

And incidentally, I am under no illusion about the fact that my blog – even if it could be considered as truly political – would feature in the list regardless of such rules.

Rule 4 is great if you are actually included in the Total Politics blog directory (fngarrrr…trails off)

@Quinn: If any (political) blog you would like to vote for isn’t listed in the Blog Directory, you can ask for it to be included by leaving a comment here.

[Am I banned? Or caught in a spam-trap? My comments aren’t appearing. It’s an outrage.]

I’m upset to read that you’re not supporting this great idea, Sunny. LC has at least two votes. One came from me. I, for one, hope you win.

QT@24
@Quinn: If any (political) blog you would like to vote for isn’t listed in the Blog Directory, you can ask for it to be included by leaving a comment here.”

Fine. But what if it isn;t accepted for the Total Politics directory? Why should I have to have my choices vetted? Surely a political blog is a blog about politics, no more no less, not one as approved by Total Politics? in short; why this restriction?

Apologies for the dreadful punctuation on the previous comment; my daughter head-butted my son’s toy bus as I was composing it and I had to deal.

cjcjc – “That Wikio link is excellent.”

Yes it is, although I don’t understand why sites like Nick Cohen’s are included when he doesn’t allow comments – how can that count as a blog?

All credit to Iain for that Rule 4. Another opportunity to boost the traffic and profile of a site that has already resorted to interviewing its own staff for its Daily Politico column.

To be honest though, I won’t be voting for the simple reason that I really can’t see the point. It’s like setting the Wayback Machine for the 1970s where there were more list books than you could shake a stick at. And how much impact do these things really have in the mainstream. Sure, I bet plenty of bloggers have been introduced to some new blogs via these lists, though a carefully crafted blogroll is usually more engaging for me at least. But how many people have been introduced to blogging via these books? Take a book like 2005 Blogged by Tim Worstall. That was a good skim over blogging, yet how many copies were sold? How many people started a blog as a consequence of its inspiration?

So by all means nominate, vote or boycott as you see fit. But, please, don’t pretend it really means anything in the real world.

Re 29:

“Yes it is, although I don’t understand why sites like Nick Cohen’s are included when he doesn’t allow comments – how can that count as a blog?”

Good point Cath. You might ask Iain why he still rates Nadine Dorries website, when it allows for less interaction than my tropical fish….

I don’t see the point of linking to right wing blogs anyway. I sure as hell don’t want to read their bullshit. And most of the people who read Right wing blogs don’t want to hear our opinions. This notion that there is some mushy centre that wants to read both colour of blogs is, I think false.

Right wing blogs are just a continuation of the bias and lies you get in the Tory press. Do you link to The Daily Torygraph website or The Daily Mail?

‘But if Iain wants to be taken seriously as more balanced when he says he’s reading and representing right and left-wing blogs, then that should be reflected in his editorial.’

Said Sunny.

All of us involved in party politics are used to fiercely competing at some times, but also working cooperatively at other times where there are common interests (such as pushing the Royal Mail to do a better job distributing general election freepost leaflets).

Sure, you should keep your eyes open and not be naive that because you’ve cooperated with someone on one occassion they won’t do their darnest to beat you at the next election. But it’s just as daft to think that you can never cooperate on common interests because you also oppose each other at elections.

I’m happy to help a good directory of political blogs be put together, and I know I’ve found good blogs I didn’t know about through previous ones, and I don’t see any contradiction between Iain Dale working with others to do this, whilst also taking a partisan line in his political blogging.

Is Ian Dale the man behind the new ‘non partisan’ political magazine backed by Ashcroft’s millions?

A so called non bias magazine, promoting all the ‘good things’ in politics, just as the Tory party is on the verge of returning to power. Does not pass the smell test to me.

Mark, hint: the contradiction is that he’s a professional spin-doctor.

[If I’m being permitted to comment.]

Here’s what he said in the last book:

There are all sorts of theories as to why the left wing blogosphere in Britain hasn’t really taken off, many of which are discussed elsewhere in this book.

Spin. See?

39. Sunder Katwala

Bloody hell … and I used to think the Westminster village and commentariat could be a bit insular; the blogosphere does like to talk about itself, no?

Truce, I say.

I vote Sunny should write the piece on Liberal Conspiracy on what it is doing and why. (Or not, if he really doesn’t want to).

People who want to vote, vote. People who don’t, don’t. If somebody else does another competition/list, same thing.

Rule 4 is great if you are actually included in the Total Politics blog directory (fngarrrr…trails off)

Amazingly my personal blog is there; it’s one of the first in the non aligned section. I can only assume it’s because I’m been on Iain Dale’s blogroll..

Yes, the blogging world sure is insular Sunder. Who gives a fuck, seriously? I didn’t vote last year and didn’t encourage anyone too but I still came 73rd or something on the left of centre list. It’s a bit of fun, if that. This is half the reason why no one cares when there’s so much personal bollocks and point scoring going on.

Larry Teabag – your comments have been approved mate, dunno why it kept getting caught in the spam filter.

Actually, LArry makes my point for me. This is continually used to say: “Oh look, there’s not much worth looking at on the left anyway – its shit” – in not so many words. Actually I’d say the left-blogosphere is far more interesting and vibrant than the same westminster centric crap on the right.

And furthmore, if Iain does want to position himself as the purveyor of these things with any credibility, then he should properly link next time to blogs who criticise him and his mates.

I’m not pretending to be some honest referee here – I mostly read left-liberal blogs anyway.

“And this feeds into the narrative that left-liberal blogs are non-existent and boring and there’s nothing going on there.”

Like the “women don’t blog” narrative that you foster yourself, Sunny? Lazy journalists buy into that too, you know.

Not surprisingly, I am in total agreement with Jo Christie-Smith.

I would also point out, though, that the vast majority of bloggers have never even HEARD of Iain Dale (hell, I hadn’t until I started hearing you lot bitch about him and asked Mat who you were on about) and they will continue on blissfully ignorant of him when this has blown over. Most people don’t give a shit about which bloggers think they are important and get the odd head-pat from the mainstream media, and rightly so.

Let Iain be the Ian Levine of politics if he wants; it’s really not worth getting upset over.

Like the “women don’t blog” narrative that you foster yourself, Sunny?

Erm, that’s precisely the narrative I wanted to challenge when hosting that event. I spend far more time on feminist and women’s blogs than most ‘mainstream’ political bloggers. I think you misunderstood the point of that discussion.

Another point to make – I really don’t think anyone can become popular or a well known blogger simply by links through this competition or with links from right-wing blogs anyway.
According to Wikio, this is the most popular blog calling itself on the liberal-left. And until very recently, Iain didn’t even acknowledge this blog existed. So the idea that being part of that directory will help bring in readers is, I think, a fallacy.

“Right wing blogs are just a continuation of the bias and lies you get in the Tory press. Do you link to The Daily Torygraph website or The Daily Mail?”

Jesus Christ, this is just utter rubbish and given the point that Sunny brought up this article for in the first place has to be one of the most ironically hypocritical statements that could be made.

Can the next article (or one of the next few, I know scheduling takes place) actually be about moving this site forward to the next level? I can’t be the only one getting frustrated with these circle jerks.

This is the most popular Liberal-Left blog:

1, That people have submitted to wikio
2, That wikio count as a political blog
3, Under wikio’s flawed counting system

* shrug *

Don’t see much difference between that and Total Politics, except that wikio isn’t owned by Iain.

I reckon a good 99% of UK bloggers haven’t heard of any of the top ten political blogs, and even if they had, they wouldn’t give a shit. If this site was about a TV show or film rather than about the supposedly highbrow world of politics, we would have been ALL OVER Fandom Wank for this, Sunny. It’s just pointless sniping.

“I don’t see the point of linking to right wing blogs anyway. I sure as hell don’t want to read their bullshit. And most of the people who read Right wing blogs don’t want to hear our opinions. This notion that there is some mushy centre that wants to read both colour of blogs is, I think false.”

But I am reading both sorts! (well, LibCon and CentreRight; I did read Dale before it got a little too geekish on the Tory front). Perhaps libertarians are the mushy centre that reads both types of blogs. I have always believed we were the real centre:)

Ah, I think we’ve discovered another classic dilemma which exposes the divide between different political outlooks.

It comes down to a judgement about what constitutes the relevant measurement of ‘top political blogs’.

One side will opt for general popularity, while another will favour the specific influence wielded by writers and their readership, and that’s before looking at the alternative choice of blogs which provide original perspectives rather than adding to the chorus of pre-existing establishment views.

Iain Dale is remarkable for his consistency of output, even if the inconsistency in those contributions’ ideas are what means it is able to remain vibrant (something which can’t equally be said for the staleness which creeps into comments on CiF or PB, for example). It strikes me that this hit parade is a pop movement which approaches the general problem of audience gathering and industry development in a similar manner as June Sarpong’s site attempts to draw and direct traffic, albeit from the oppositie direction – to me this says something about how the online state is being colonised by commercialism as it strives to escape its roots as an amateur-driven content producer in order to stake its claim on our consciousness. This seems to be a process which overtakes all maturing media as it moves from outsider to establishment status – even John Peel had a festive50!

I’d recommend collating different lists of blogs which reflect their particular specialisations, even if most blogs are to some extent a mix of their authors preoccupations – it certainly is important that Dale shouldn’t get to impose the narrowness of his view as the dominating factor in how readers understand and navigate the blogosphere (as if we would let him anyway).

So how about a list of ‘national’ blogs, a list of ‘regional’ or other ‘demographic’ blogs, a list of ‘policy’ or ‘campaign’ blogs and a collection of ‘personality’ and other top commentator blogs – ‘political’ is a term which is a bit too general for my liking, as when it comes down to it aren’t all things to some extent ‘political’?

My reason for not taking part is that Iain wants to give the impression he is being all inclusive, and then spends the rest of the time making snide comments about left blogs. Take this from Iain Dale’s Diary on January 7th….

Maybe it should just turn itself into a good, readable lefty blog. Let’s face it, there isn’t much competition.

Or this from May 4th….
If anyone needed proof as to why the left wing blogosphere is so rubbish, this is it.

I happen to think Iain’s list has done a lot to promote bloggers, or all persuasions, but if he will persist in saying left blogs are shite anyway, why should I help him compile the list. Last year I wrote one of the introductions, I helped compile the list of best left blogs, and my own blog finished fairly high in the list, (so it’s not sour grapes).

I wish him well with it, I won’t be taking part, no big deal.

If left-wing blogs want to bail out of Iain Dale’s list, surely you have to accept that this might be interpreted as some bloggers being afraid of looking unpopular? I write what I write on my blog and am not afraid of seeing how I am considered BY FELLOW BLOGGERS, NOT BY IAIN DALE.

http://lettersfromatory.wordpress.com

Last time, when I got an unfeasibly high position in the Labour top-ten, the partisan lists were produced by huddles of Labour etc bloggers selected by Iain I think. The left one therefore had the distinction of not including some jolly good independent left blogs which have far more footfall than most of the Labour efforts. Undecided about either taking part of pimping this poll. Sunnay and Iain are both wrong in their own ways on this.

oops, horrble spolling

Actually I’d say the left-blogosphere is far more interesting and vibrant than the same westminster centric crap on the right.

I don’t have any issue with Iain and I generally stay away from the ‘blogwars’ thing.

Hence your posts on Guido, Harry Cole (who?), Iain Dale, Boris’s “gaffes”, Ken’s candidacy in 2012, and on crime statistics (no, not on the stats themselves, but on the right wing blog reaction to the stats)…nothing solipsistic about those!

Ha! Jennie and Cath are right to question the parameters and scoring of Wikio!

I nearly fell off my chair last night when I read that I was number 86 or something in the top 100 political blogs and down 14 points! This means that at some point I must have been up 14 points!

How ridiculous!

There is noooo waaaay that I’m in the top 100 most influential political blogs! (And thank you for those who were too polite to point my blog out as an example of why the Wikio listing can only be a bit dodgy).

They talk about weighted links, so I can only assume that I have got there by dint of the fact that Sky News occasionally link to me, as I have done some telly for them and on Friday , the PM blog on the BBC website linked to me, for totally non political reasons! I assume those are two pretty weighty websites…perhaps they should measure the click throughs from those websites; that would get me off the top 100 pretty pronto, I’m sure.

Anyway, back to the topic under discussion, rather than me!

Of course, Iain Dale is dismissive of left and progressive leaning blogs on his own blog…that’s his prerogative.

But I differentiate between Iain Dale’s Diary which is his own partisan blog and Total Politics, which is a business. If Total Politics is going to be at all successful, he will need to have readers from across the political spectrum; otherwise it just won’t sell enough. He cannot afford to be partisan if that is the case, as his non-Tory readers will probably have to outnumber his Tory readers.

And yes, he is using his blog to advertise the magazine venture and the blog list. Why not, it may not be his money he’s using but it is his time and that will have an opportunity costs. Rabid Tory or not, he’s unlikely to want to waste it.

And as for not being included in the Total Politics blog lists..well I noticed wasn’t there a couple of weeks ago (or my partner’s, who writes a really, really good blog and should be in the top 100) and emailed them to ask them to put our blogs on there. It was done…I am sure it was more about not knowing, rather than not wanting to know and it isn’t Iain that puts together the blog roll, rather a member of the magazine staff. Indeed, Iain has linked to Neil’s blog (www.neilstockley.blogspot.com) before, recommending a posting, so there was no conspiracy there.

Hence your posts on Guido, Harry Cole (who?)

Not Sunny’s posts, but mine – this is a group blog – and as you can see I’ve not commented on this issue here, nor do I intend to.

I have my own thoughts on this, but if I choose to air them then it’ll be over at the Ministry.

How many Liberal Conspiracy readers does it take to change a light bulb?

1000,

1 to change it and the other 999 to boycott the way it was changed.

LOL.

Its a group blog – I don’t know if you understand the nature of those cjcjc.

Bob Piper above is spot on. I wouldn’t have a problem with Iain Dale’s thing if he wasn’t so disparaging of left blogs without even linking to them!
I’m disparaging of right-blogs but most of the time I link to them when pointing out who I’m attacking and why.

Iain Dale constantly tells his readers left blogs are crap and then wants to set up a poll to determine the state of the blogosphere. I just wanted to make a point, which I have. :)

I think it helps to remember why ID is doing this. As someone else has said, he is positioning himself as the emissary between blogosphere and mainstream media. The reason this is working very well is that he has similar tastes to people in the mainstream media – who are delighted when he confirms their existing view of blogging.

I read an interesting interview with him a little while ago, can’t remember what paper I’m afraid. In it he said left-wing (I think; it may have been broader than that) blogs weren’t moving on or being innovative, and suggested that much of the blogging in the MSM is now as good as a lot of political blogging. These are both opinions, and I for one would differ from both of them.* But the fact that they are shared opinions between ID and the MSM means they come to accept them as a sort of truth.

So the 100 best political blah just continues this confirmation process. The MSM aren’t interested in indie stuff (broadly conceived) in the first place, so it’s not like we’re missing out on a window of opportunity to get left-lib blogs more widely read as a result of ID’s views. The window was never open, never will be. I’ll submit nominations just because it’s a fun and neighbourly thing to do. I textvote in Strictly Come Dancing as well sometimes; doesn’t mean I give a toss.

*(because (1) I couldn’t give a toss who embeds/polls/liveblogs, I just want to read good, thoughtful, liberal writing, and frankly I’d be just as happy with a pencil and paper if it was as easily transmittable; (2) none of my, ooh, thirty or forty odd favourite blogs, from across the political/non-political spectrum, are MSM with the sole except of Bad Science. The overwhelming majority of what the MSM produces is mindless shit. That’s why we spend so much of our time deconstructing it on our blogs. This must be catching, because when I write for the MSM I am myself overwhelmingly shit.)

Actually, a good example of the mindset of the ID/MSM nexus is found in what Chris Paul says @52 (always a pleasure to come across you in non-insane-Lib-Dem-bashing mode ;-D ). Left-wing blogging alone encompasses whole worlds of generally left-leaning people who hardly ever so much as mention the word Westminster, but because the right-wing blogosphere is quite Westminster-centric, a right-wing blogger will always look to the specifically “Labour” bits of the blogosphere for their left-wing reading.

And of course, the right-wing blogosphere being Westminster-centric is another thing that endears it to the MSM. Basically, you could say the MSM’s take is “Hey! These bloggers write about the same stuff we do! They must be the really important bloggers.”

“How many Liberal Conspiracy readers does it take to change a light bulb?”

Leon is right to say 1000, but wrong about their division of labour:

200 left wing bloggers to set up a Light Bulb-Changing Committee (LBCC) to assess the scope of light bulb-changing activities, and the various sub-committees to monitor whether or not diversity targets and other relevant legislation is being complied with.

50 for an independent LBC appeals panel (OffBulb), in case anyone disagrees with the LBCC’s decision.

10 needed to become full-time trade union officials, to ensure that LBCC employees are properly represented.

50 bloggers must make up the External Representation Committee (ERC), which liaises with other departments and represents the LBCC at EU and UN levels.

100 will become revenue officers, who are tasked with taxing the local population to provide this vital service. Non-payment of the light bulb tax is a criminal offence.

20 bloggers to form the environmental sub-group in order to ensure that the light bulbs are environmentally friendly. This will be achieved by going on a fact-finding mission to the Bahamas.

400 administrators are necessary, in order to administer the other administrators.

The remaining 170 bloggers will sit around complaining about how Iain Dale and Guido Fawkes think that they are the only ones who can change light bulbs, and how the left can change light bulbs just as well, if only they wanted to. At this juncture, someone will point out that the only reason Conservative Home has bloggers who can change light bulbs is because the site is externally funded.

The light bulb will remain unchanged.

By ‘eck, Rumbold, that’s some amazing copy/pasting skills you have there.

““How many Liberal Conspiracy readers does it take to change a light bulb?””

They won’t – they’re always in the dark*.

* Only snickering.

Jennie- Did someone else say that?

Heh BenSix.

Despite Total Politics publishing his Guide, there’s no mention of it on the magazine’s website. In the meantime, launching the poll from his own blog has generated Iain 45 inbound links (according to Technorati) and no doubt thousands of extra visits to help with his ad revenue. You have to admire the brass neck of the man.

Heh. that’s funny rumbold…

Here’s another good reason not to award Dale the BlogDaddy title. APCO. They have a track record of setting up a “network of fake citizens’ groups” for the likes of Exxon and Philip Morris, and lo and behold they turn up as the sponsors of Dale’s list. Someone with big money wants to influence public opinion, and times have moved on from the “citizen’s group”, fake or otherwise. Who would you turn to? The “blogging community” just happens to be the modern day manifestation.

Dale even has the requisite climate change deniers viewpoint, the sort that APCO have a history of throwing good money at for their climate wrecking and health wrecking clients.

http://www.truthout.org/article/george-monbiot-the-denial-industry

Jo-Christie Smith,

If Total Politics is non-partisan, then how come it reckons that the best 3 political speeches of all time were 2 by Regan and Powell’s rivers of blood?

Dale is not in any way impartial and seems incapable of being so.

Tom p

This section is headed MEMORABLE SPEECHES. Are you saying those three aren’t memorable? You also omit to point out that the other four speeches in the section are by JFK, Martin Luther King, FDR and Lincoln.

The whole database is very much work in progress.

Do try taking your blinkers off. It is meant to be a valuable resource for people of all political persuasions.

well, for the first time today I heard about this list, Iain Dale’s blog, and a load of other blogs I’d never heard about either. And I won’t be reading them again.
What is the point of blogs that are basically sub-standard newpaper columns? I thought blogging was supposed to offer something different, but the “top political blogs” are boorish drivel. I can see that from readership levels people in general disagree, but people in general like Coldplay and believe things like “knife epidemic AAAARRGGHH!!!”, so I can’t say the numbers convince me these sites are any good.
Thankyou (incidentally, this site’s not too bad…)

I’ve continued my journey through this dreadful world…. oh my god I have no confidence left in the human race – finding posts bragging about visitor numbers, noticing all the adverts these people take. And Iain dale accuses other blogs of “not being innovative” (acc. to Alix)? So, writing in a traditional style and taking ad money and generally looking like a goddamn Daily Mail opinion column is innovative? (insert italics where appropriate)
Jesus Christ, we really are all going to hell in a hand cart if these “top blogs” are what constitutes good writing.
Personally, I’d have them all taken out and shot.

Can those of us who have the distinction of being banned by Iain Dale’s Diary have an award?

Guys, my blog has now been added to the list at Total Politics. If anyone here is voting and has a spare slot, I’d love your votes! Thanks!

Re 76.

Unfortunately John, the prize would have to be split so many ways that if it were one of Iain’s books, we’d be lucky to get a paragraph each.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Jon Worth » Dale’s blog list - no boycott here

    […] year, and part of that is an appeal for readers of his blog to rank their top 10 political blogs. Liberal Conspiracy and Bob Piper and stating they are opting out of the process as they are unhappy at the way Dale […]

  2. The Iain Dale Total Politics top blogs list | Liberal Democrat Voice

    […] what was my dilemma? Well, Sunny Hundal over at Liberal Conspiracy has summed it up rather well: Now, I have nothing against Iain Dale personally – he’s a lovely […]

  3. Ministry of Truth » Blog Archive » Iain’s Annual Blog Guide.

    […] year’s voting round has got off to something of a controversial start with Bob Piper and Liberal Conspiracy both announcing that they won’t be taking part – and as for me, […]

  4. Why Labour blogs should take part in Iain Dale’s blog vote : labouroutlook.com

    […] some have their misgivings, all Labour blogs should be take part this year as it’s an excellent […]

  5. Quaequam Blog! » Blog Archive » My top ten political blogs

    […] top ten political blogs as part of Iain Dale’s annual bout of self publicity round up. Unlike others, I won’t be partaking in any “boycott.” Sure, the fact that it is edited by Iain […]





Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.