Does Iain Dale know much about blogs?


10:30 am - April 14th 2009

by Sunny Hundal    


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A couple of days ago Tory blogger Iain Dale wrote an article for the Sunday Telegraph which repeated the same meme that left-wing blogs are boring and right-wing blogs is where the impact and numbers are at.

Usually I let it go because it seems to be a psychological condition amongst right-wingers that they have to continually pat themselves on the back in fear of looking inadequate. As the latest amusing example, here’s Daniel Hannan MEP desperately pleading to be let into the club. I don’t even have the heart to give him a primer about blog ‘hits’ versus ‘absolute unique users’. Anyway, Iain Dale said:

Over the last few years, Right-of-centre blogs such as my own (Iain Dale’s Diary), Guido Fawkes, ConservativeHome, Dizzy Thinks, Nadine Dorries MP, Donal Blaney, Devil’s Kitchen and John Redwood’s Diary have come into their own. Several are now read by more than 100,000 individuals every month.

Bloggers like me, Tim Montgomerie of ConservativeHome and Guido Fawkes have become part of the media punditry circuit. But on the Left-of-centre, tumbleweed still blows around the blogosphere.

Gotta love the ‘media punditry circuit’ quote. But tumbleweed, really?

Is this the same Donal Blaney who spends an inordinate amount of time ‘fisking’ the 25 things about me list of a 20 year old girl and writes far too much about that Labour PPC than is actually healthy? Is this the same Nadine Dorries MP who stopped the 1 or 2 comments that used to get posted on her blog after she tried to smear the Guardian journalist Ben Goldacre? The less said about Devil’s Kitchen the better, and actually my blog Pickled Politics gets about the same numbers as Dizzy Thinks / Phil Hendren – and you can ask him too.

Of those blogs, only Guido Fawkes gets over 100,000 visitors a month and I’m not aware of ConservativeHome’s stats but it’s likely they do too.

I don’t publish a monthly ‘stat porn’ on Liberal Conspiracy because I think its useless willy-waving. But I will point out, for Iain Dale’s sake, because he clearly seems to be clueless about the state of the blogosphere, that there is a lot going on on the left too.

For a start Liberal Conspiracy is rated third by Wikio and has been for the past several months. Our monthly absolute unique users now outstrip the New Statesman and Prospect’s sales.

If we didn’t have any impact, then the recent Phil Woolas controversy over the ONS, as a result of a letter published here on LibCon, wouldn’t have led to such a big row (Daily Mail, Telegraph – neither credited us, though the BBC did).

And though LabourHome and LabourList serve their own purpose and have their different audiences, I doubt their numbers are as high as ours – mostly because their focus is on the party. Even The Economist did something on this last year.

If left-wing blogs didn’t have any readers or influence, then Andrew Gilligan wouldn’t be talking about dark anti-Boris forces (bloggers) in two columns for the Evening Standard – let alone the countless times the paper has run stories from Tory Troll or BorisWatch or had to change their own line. It’s obvious that everyone at the GLA read Dave Hill and those two – apart from perhaps Iain Dale.

If left-wing blogs were so shit then an investigation led by Tim Ireland and others at Sun Lies wouldn’t have forced The Sun, Daily Mail and others to withdraw a story about a ‘Jewish hit-list’ (apparently concocted by Muslims), forced the PPC to investigate and eventually lead Alan Sugar to take legal action against the Sun. But perhaps if you’re Iain Dale – the authority on British political blogging – then you miss all that.

All this doesn’t even include the influence LibdemVoice has had on conversations with the Libdem party, and the massive impact The F Word does on feminist activism across the UK.

The thing is this: all the bloggers mentioned above, Derek Draper, and the Westminster journos who buy into the rubbish that these are the only blogs worth mentioning, are part of the Westminster bubble culture that makes politicians so aloof from the rest of the country. They think the world revolves around Westminster, which is why they exclude anyone who doesn’t write about the same as ‘boring’ and bereft of any readership.

I’d go as far as saying that left-wing blogs have more diverse and wider audiences because they cover a whole range of different issues and topics, rather than being part of a circle-jerk where the same people read Guido, Dale and CH, and occasionally pop over to other rightwing blogs those three link to.

Frankly, I don’t care if right-wingers don’t read LC because I’m interested in talking to and engaging lefties. But if Iain Dale is going to try set himself as an authority on British blogs then he should at least be a bit more knowledgeable about the subject he writes.

[PS – I was on BBC Wales radio this morning at 8:45am discussing blogging. Can someone please let me into the ‘media punditry circuit’ club now, please? Pretty please?]

Update
Andy Newman at Socialist Unity gets it.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Liberal Conspiracy ,Media

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Reader comments


I keep reading bloggers saying that the best way of dealing with Dale, Staines et al is to ignore them.

Any chance this might actually be put into practice? I won’t hold my breath.

You guys are obsessed with Dale and Staines.
Please don’t become as sad as that Bloggerheads guy.
Do they ever diss LC directly?
You seem to be dissing them on an almost daily basis.
Of course they talk themselves up.
Who doesn’t?

PS I wouldn’t necessarily boast about having more readers than Propsect or the NS…!

I try to read a wide range of political blogs as I think it is important to be aware of all shades of a debate and be open minded to fresh ideas from all sides of the political spectrum.

With that in mind, would the Liberal Conspiracy kindly return to its early days of being a genuinely interesting read, packed full of fresh ideas and debate, and drop the recent tendency to be a sneering attack dog which seems to spend an inordinate amount of time obsessed with belittling everyone else.

This introspective sniping is becoming quite unpleasant to read.

Thanks

I dunno Mike, I’d definitely support that.
Sunny, you say “left-wing blogs have more diverse and wider audiences because they cover a whole range of different issues and topics, rather than being part of a circle-jerk”, but *eight of the last twelve* stories that have been posted here have been about those very same right-wing bloggers and Derek Draper and ‘Westminster bubble culture’. It’s just beyond a joke at this point. The story deserved *one* post at most…

Such a shame a piece as good as this had to come at this time. Sunny, seriously this has got boring beyond words now, isn’t it time to move on?

It may be because Dale doesn’t know what a left-wing blog actually is. He had me down as a lefty in his last blog list thing, after all.

Either way, this whole thing really is shockingly dull. That Dale doesn’t know what he’s talking about is painfully apparent to anyone who knows anything about the world of British political blogging – but the media types who book people onto their shows know tit all about it (and care even less). All they care about is that Dale’s happy to turn up at all hours of the day and night and spout bland inanities to fill airtime. That’s all they’re interested in – a reliable talking head they can phone up and get into the studio at short notice to churn out the standard party line without bringing up anything too controversial. This is all Dale’s ever done.

Andrew Hickey

Sunny, you say “left-wing blogs have more diverse and wider audiences because they cover a whole range of different issues and topics, rather than being part of a circle-jerk”, but *eight of the last twelve* stories that have been posted here have been about those very same right-wing bloggers and Derek Draper and ‘Westminster bubble culture’. It’s just beyond a joke at this point. The story deserved *one* post at most…

Spot on, in fact I’d just counted the recent stories posted here to make exactly that point.

Sunny, for someone who allegedly doesn’t care what right-wing bloggers think of LC, you’re spending an awful lot of time on posts that are obviously designed to big this site up to those bloggers. It’s getting boring, in fact I’d go so far as to say that the political blogosphere is becoming increasingly incestuous, with bloggers on both sides obsessing about each other and about who said what about who……

Personally I couldn’t give a shit what some insignificant bloke said about some other insignificant bloke on a blog I’m never likely to read, and I don’t think LC should be joining in with the wankathon.

‘Cos meanwhile, out in the real world, real things are happening to real people who actually have real lives, not just online identities……

Cath, Andrew and Mike got there before me, I see. I’d gladly not see That Tory Blogger ever mentioned on this site again. All we are doing is joining in the circle jerk here, and it’s painfully dull.

Shorter Sunny Hundal:

I won’t get involved in willy-waving but I’ll just mention that my cock is at least as big as yours,so there! Here, take a quick peek!

Jeez.

With you all the way, girls (and Mike and Andrew). If I see another male blogger with his leg cocked over Guido/Dolly in the next 24 hours, I’m going to have a big girly meltdown.

I laughed my ass off when I read this article. Bloody good show, especially the last bit…

“[PS – I was on BBC Wales radio this morning at 8:45am discussing blogging. Can someone please let me into the ‘media punditry circuit’ club now, please? Pretty please?]”

Priceless.

Yeah, I agree with Leon.

Great piece, but this shit is over… even if Dale didn’t get his letter of apology from GB, yet.

*sniggers uncontrollably. falls off chair*

Mike,

You can’t begrudge a man a bit of exposure. Ahem.

14. Cheesy Monkey

It always gets me that the Right-wing Blogtards think that their scribblings are somehow ‘witty’ and ‘entertaining’, when in fact they are about as funny as an amputee that has just been told that their prosthetic limbs have given them cancer. As well as knowing not what a Left-wing blog is, they appear not to know what comedy is either. To test: name me five Right-wing comedians who are actually, you know, funny. Go!

Shuggy makes a good point here – Dale and Staines are popular for the same reasons Closer and Heat are; lots of folk like scurrilous gossip (especially, I’d add, MSM journalists who then link to such blogs).
http://modies.blogspot.com/2009/04/on-blogging-and-black-arts-of-spin.html
High-minded right-wing blogs – such as the now-defunct Blimpish or Matthew Sinclair – got no more traffic than decent left-wing blogs.
Quality and popularity are two very different things. It’s as simple as that.
This isn’t to say we need a lefty Staines – I suspect this would fail because lefties aren’t as interested as the right in Westminster tittle-tattle.

Uhhh…. well for 1. Jackie Mason (and probably funniest man in the world too)

(help me out here guys)

17. Publicansdecoy

I agree with all those who said it’s time to move on and start writing about more interesting stuff. Aren’t half of those saying this also contributors to this blog?

PJ O’Rourke? But it’s a stupid pointless argument that one, because one’s ideas about what is funny are entirely subjective. I think, for example, that Jeremy Hardy and Mark Steel and Mark Thomas and most other Radio 4 comedians are as funny as a traffic accident, but I doubt that’s a universal view on here.

Well said, Sunny. I think what Dale doesn’t get about left-of-centre blogs is that he identifies “the left” in narrow Labour Party terms – so Derek Draper is a big hitter on the left, and Dave Osler is the most leftwing blogger of all. In fact, most of the interesting left blogging is outside that narrow LP ambit, whether it’s here or Lenin’s Tomb or Socialist Unity, not to mention lots of smaller blogs that have plenty of good writing.

Not to say that there isn’t a ready market for Westminster bubble gossip, but that’s not what interests me. Even Stormont bubble gossip can only hold my attention for so long.

P.J. O’Rourke (when he’s on form, at any rate) I must also admit to being partial to a bit of Clarkson…

But humour’s not a left/right thing – it’s entirely subjective based on the audience’s own cultural capital. Hardcore righties won’t find lefty humour amusing because they disagree with the underlying assumptions, and vice versa. I’d far rather sit through a stand-up set from Stewart Lee (when he’s on form, at any rate) than Bernard Manning, because the former has a similar outlook to my own, while the latter was a racist twat. But I’d prefer to read Boris Johnson than Nick Cohen, because I find the latter tedious and the former entertaining – I don’t especially agree politically with either of them.

21. the a&e charge nurse

chavscum – have none of the opinions heard here changed your opinions about anything?

Of course, most people enjoy a good bun fight but surely a certain % of opinions are percolating in the chavscum neural system – no man is an island, after all ?

Uhhh…. well for 1. Jackie Mason (and probably funniest man in the world too)

Oh my. He’s sort of funny, but dude. You lose.

John Stossel!

PD:

Aren’t half of those saying this also contributors to this blog?

Um, yes, sorry, still slightly blocked.

As it happens, a post like this was in my “to post” list (the incredibly long one that’s never going to get done), I’ve done it before a couple times anyway, I always did like meta blogging.

But I cancelled that one as, well, too many posts on this topic. OK, constructive post in favour of something needed. Hmm, maybe I should dig out and finish that differential turnout post I started over a year ago.

I’m sure most comedians are “left wing” – it seems to go with the territory to some extent. Same with actors. It’s a luvvy thing. (Though I bet they use private education and health when they can afford it.)

But “left wing comedians” – Hardy, Steel, Thomas, Brigstocke (that environmental champion who organises a comedy festival in a ski resort) – are for the most part extremely unfunny. If only because every joke they make is so bleedin’ obvious.

Oh, Chris, I also miss the days of Blimpish and other sensible Tory bloggers; he did restart briefly a few months ago but stopped again in Feb:
http://blimpish.wordpress.com/

Hope he comes back again, and actually intelligent Tory that wants to engage with people and will actually debate is good for the discussion, even if agreement is less likely.

cjcjc, really is a case of differing tastes then—I, and many friends, are huge fans of Brigstocke, Jennie and I went to the first gig in Thomas’s current tour and really liked it, and while I sometimes find Steel a bit much (he’s a trotskyite after all), I do tend to like his work; the popularity of his current show on R4 and the obvious audience appreciation mightshow you that it is, as with all things, a matter of taste.

It might be true that many comedians are leftish, but I doubt it’s the majority, let alone all, I reckon they reflect a cross section of opinion, but tend to be drawn from student circuits and similar. I definitely rate, for example, Jeremy Clarkson as an effective comedian (or comic actor, depending on how seriously you take his persona), and even discounting the hyperbole I suspect he’s a little bit to the right. Let alone the old touring arseholes like Jim Davidson, etc.

MatGB – they play to their student audience very well, certainly. There’s nothing a student likes more than having his prejudices fed back to him.

I let Andy Hamilton off because of Old Harry’s Game!

I’ll throw Ian Hislop in at least as a non-lefty.

they play to their student audience very well, certainly

Which is of course why, at the Thomas gig, I’d say that I, a mere stripling of 34 years, was on the lower end of the age range attending the gig…

30. mellowmund

Sunny, keep doing what you’re doing.

I count 3 comedians who are mildly funny for the right. They are bereft of humour possibly as the future always looks bleak.

George Carlin and Bill Hicks – prophets more the comedians.

Hicks was more a libertarian than a leftist though.
PD – Some of us moaning here only contribute specific things (e.g. I do netcasts and don’t have direct posting access to post anything else, except on the rare occasions when I’m asked if I’ll repost something from my main blog). However, even if we all had the ability to post what we like when we like, we wouldn’t have the ability to stop other contributors posting about this (only Sunny, as owner of the site, has that). It’s not the lack of content that’s a problem – there have been several interesting posts here over the last few days – just that it’s been swamped by noise.

32. Sunder Katwala

I’ve written as much about this than anybody. But there are two different tracks. On one of these, the discussion matters a good deal; and on the other one it does not matter all that much.

There is an important party culture and organisation issue for the Labour party to think and act seriously about. If we get that right, more Labour voices will make a constructive and significant contribution to the broader progressive blogosphere. If we get it wrong, issues like this will blow up in our face with those audiences (Westminster media; political blogosphere) that are engaged with them, and they will affect the broader reputation of the party. So a ‘not much to see here … please move on’ attitude isn’t right for us, but we do need to close it, and start doing something which is transparently and clearly and verifiably different from the nonsense. For example, this is bound to dominate all discussion on LabourList itself until there is some closure on that, by Derek realising that it can’t work while he sticks around. I think that’s mainly a discussion within the Labour Party ( in which some others outside it may also have a stake). People like Sunny and others can and should influence the Labour Party from outside it, while some of us had better make sure we win this one within it.

But I think Liberal Conspiracy is already an effective part of that broader progressive blogosphere and has a different role. Certainly there are and should be some Labour voices in the conversation here …. So here I think the ‘can’t we talk about something that matters’ issue is relevant here … Yes, there will be an increasing misunderstanding and mythology of the blogosphere, and sometimes that is worth challenging (especially by laughing at it, as Jamie Sport’s splendid post did)… But it is overall better challenged by getting on with doing something else.

‘You called us introspective navel-gazers but we’re not’ is a bit paradoxical, as is the not willy-waving because we don’t have to, so I think Sunny is slightly falling into that trap, despite being brilliant most of the time on most things.

OK, perpetual students!!

despite being brilliant most of the time on most things

Of course

Actually, cjcjc, from the couple of years I spent on the Mark Thomas mailing list, I’d guess most of his more ardent fans had never been to university at all…

36. mellowmund

Yes CJ, 3rd yr Dental Student and what?

37. Sunder Katwala

(And that’s why I’ve been posting about it on Next Left, but not here),

A suggestion: why not

– Consciously, keep the posts on this down, unless/until there is something important to say

– Nominate and retitle one of these threads as a ‘smeargate’ open thread/continuation discussion, and have people on LC who do have things to say about this (and I thought Sunny’s early responses were good and important) continue to post developments or to discuss them there, which would get the balance right between this possibly being a story with developments (MSM or blogosphere) for those who care about that (and where it is interesting to hear LC voices on these things as they happen) without it seeming to crowd everything out.

Cath @ 8 wrote:

Personally I couldn’t give a shit what some insignificant bloke said about some other insignificant bloke on a blog I’m never likely to read, and I don’t think LC should be joining in with the wankathon.

This is the best comment anyone has made on this so far.

This is also why I’ve always been sceptical of the idea that British bloggers need to learn from the ‘success’ of American blogs. I used to read US political blogs back in, say, 2004 or so as it was a good way of getting independent, non-insane opinions from genuine Americans at a time when these were hard to find in the mainstream media. I stayed away from the real nutters (the LGF and PowerLine type blogs) but there were plenty of interesting, thoughtful blogs from both Democrats looking to rebuild their party and Republicans despairing of what theirs was doing with its monopoly on power. Over time, things changed. The shrillest voices came to dominate, and the arguments ceased to be about the rights and wrongs of the politics but about the rights and wrongs of the bloggers themselves. Perfectly sane, readable bloggers who were happy to give lucid and free-thinking assessments of their own party/faction’s policy agenda turned into raving obsessives when forced to debate the personal merits of the other bloggers on their ‘side’.

‘Who said what to whom’ became grist for the blogging mill. Truly vicious arguments over personalities and personal malfeasances came to dominate the agenda, as bloggers tried to prove each other wrong by dint of bad character or occasional gaffes rather than bad ideas. The thoughtful Republicans who could see the failure of their own side in office began to take criticism personally; they closed ranks and began to take on a bunker mentality. Democrats stopped seeing politics as a debate between schools of thought and saw it as a war to be fought, and anyone on the other side was fair game for ‘scrutiny’ which almost always focused on the personal and not the political. I’ve seen all of this happen once and I think that LibCon is promoting this kind of thing here, rather than holding it back. This will ultimately end up driving out the ‘moderates’ who just want to talk honestly about politics from their own perspective (seriously, given the expansion of the blogosphere, doesn’t it seem to be the case that we’re seeing fewer bloggers who can be respected by all sides?).

The constant references to Guido, Iain Dale and other Tory bloggers are fucking pointless. If they’re wrong about things, argue with their substantive arguments. Don’t waste time accusing them of having a ‘psychological condition’ simply because they disagree with you. When you do that, it makes you sound, frankly, like a bit of a cunt. You’re basically saying that, on the basis that he disagrees with you about some point of fact, Iain Dale is mentally ill. No, he isn’t mentally ill, and in fact all that this shows is that he’s a lot smarter than most people blogging here. He has a partisan agenda, there are reasons for what he says and you could simply remind people of what those reasons are, rather than making serious, if off-hand, accusations about his character. Given that LibCon is meant to be taking the moral high road in comparison to Draper, Guido et al., this is a very odd way of showing it.

Basically, if we carry on this way then we’ll have a blogosphere dominated by a massive LibCon groupthink machine vs. a ConHome groupthink machine, with Dale, Guido and hangers-on on one side, and, I dunno, Tim Ireland, Tory Troll (and, god help us, Draper if he manages to barter his notoriety into a readership) and a few others on the other side. In other words, it’ll be fucking awful. It won’t educate anyone, it won’t convert anyone, it won’t increase participation in politics and it won’t breed a better civic culture. It will be a lot of irrelevant people “fact-checking” and “fisking” each other as if anyone cares, becoming increasingly shrill and increasingly convinced of the malevolent insanity of the other side.

and I thought Sunny’s early responses were good and important

Hahaha – his first response was that this was a complete non-story.

MattGB @ 29:

I definitely rate, for example, Jeremy Clarkson as an effective comedian (or comic actor, depending on how seriously you take his persona), and even discounting the hyperbole I suspect he’s a little bit to the right.

I’d be a touch more impressed with Clarkson’s ‘pub bore with car keys’ comedy routine if I knew he wrote his own material for Top Gear (which I used to enjoy most when viewed as a sitcom rather than a motoring programme).

Sunder: the only ‘development’ this story will have is if there are other emails, implicating other people. At the moment it’s the Tories and the right-wing media circus jumping up and down trying to keep the story running as long as possible, and New Labour wishing the whole thing would just go away.

redpesto, plenty of comedians don’t write their own material and still manage to be great comedians – Morecambe & Wise for example (also right-wing comedians)

“To test: name me five Right-wing comedians who are actually, you know, funny. Go!”

Jim Davidson!

Just kidding.

This introspective sniping is becoming quite unpleasant to read.

Sure – and actually I expected this response to my article, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that I think it needed to be said anyway.

LC’s aim is to try and reflect the leftwing blogosphere, have interesting discussions and all that. But we’re also part of a broader conversation. And it annoys me when the stellar work that does get done across leftwing blogs gets trashed.

A fair point, Andrew, but I don’t really see Clarkson as a comedian – then again, how much credit do I give him for his convincing ‘Mr Toad’ character in Top Gear? (Trust me, it’s always funnier when Clarkson loses face) And how much less funny is it when you occasionally get the feeling that he really means it about, say, speed cameras or environmentalism?

[Sorry, Sunny, I’m heading off topic]

MARCH 2009:
Iain Dale – 87,801 Absolute Unique Visitors (he claims… take with a grain of salt)
Tim Ireland – 53,451 Absolute Unique Visitors

Not *quite* tumbleweeds, is it?

Staines and Dale have been declaring themselves to be the first and best to arrive pretty much since they got here. They are both liars, comment cheats and old media wankers.

Quick correction to those figures, which were from the last 30 days. Figure for March 1 – March 31, 2009 is 49,086 Absolute Unique Visitors

Fisking. Whatever happened to that?

“If left-wing blogs didn’t have any readers or influence, then Andrew Gilligan wouldn’t be talking about dark anti-Boris forces (bloggers) in two columns for the Evening Standard – let alone the countless times the paper has run stories from Tory Troll or BorisWatch or had to change their own line. It’s obvious that everyone at the GLA read Dave Hill and those two – apart from perhaps Iain Dale.”

Thanks for that. I was, of course, invited to one of Derek Draper’s do’s – I couldn’t make it because a) it was in central London, b) it was at a ridiculous hour in the morning, c) I have a child to get ready for school and d) I have a full time job.

In other words, getting involved with DD and co.’s view of blogging is incompatible with leading what one might call a normal life. I tend to think that some experience of normal life is *essential* to political blogging, which is why Draper, Dale, Staines and co. are rather boring and appear to have nothing to do with what I see as the point of threshing out the future direction of the country by democratic debate. I therefore see the lack of (much) contact with live politicians a feature, not a bug.

Sunny is right.

My blog, which is erratic and only written on by me, is now clocking up 150 hits a day.

That’s pretty good for a nobody raving about leftie politics, who until 3 months ago struggled to get more than 30.

But of course, Iain Dale has no interest in actually reporting on the truth of the “blogosphere” (stupid word). His priority is to spin the issue to Tory advantage.

And sadly, he’s pretty good at that. But then, would he find it so easy if the media in this country weren’t so keen to help him do it?

Heh, Tom.

Tim – I’m sorry mate but that’s just TUMBLEWEED!

Only when you get officially recognised by Iain Dale then you get brought into the hall of fame. Or if you become rightwing.

Until then you shall remain inconsequential. Alan Sugar – pah!

51. Conor Foley

Agreed with most of the comments above.

I still think of CiF as a ‘left-wing blog’, because for the first few years it pitched itself as carrying the sort of comments and articles that did not get such an airing in the mainstream media. It is more of a website newspaper now, which I suppose was inevitable, but what I liked about it before was that it catered to multiple niche markets rather than the lowest common demoninator ‘westminster-centred’ view of what constituted news.

I read blogs to get news that I can’t find elsewhere and to find like-minded people with whom I can debate issues – which increasingly means looking to US-based sites on human rights and humanitarian issues. I like LC because most of its contributors seem to share my basic political outlet and its is promoting an agenda (broadly related to a left realignment) that I agree with.

Other people who are involved in politics like scurrilous gossip, partisan attacks, misrepresentation of their opponents views and ‘blog wars’. I suppose that is all part of the political process as well, but I just find it less interesting.

Sunny – I see from a snapshot of a Twitter feed posted at the moment on the front page of LabourList that in response to Tom Watson asking for Schillings’s phone number, you reply “do it! do it! do it!” – by which I assume you mean sue Dale.

So you are part of the attack dog force? Attack puppy perhaps?

Sad.

So, cjcjc, you didn’t spot the keyword in Tom’s tweet that suggested he was taking the piss?

LC should have ads. But have them only on the posts people don’t want here, after all, they’re easily the most popular…

I didn’t spot the keyword in Sunny’s suggesting he was!

I didn’t realise the Dale obsession had got quite so bad…

Um, CJ? A blogger asking for Schillings number? You didn’t get that one? I thought you’d been around blogdom for awhile. Honestly.

What – you think someone as poisonous as Watson wouldn’t use them?

It’s more Sunny’s almost immediate response which grabbed me though…close are they?

Oh, yes… that would be I’m guessing the story that the great protector of free speech Paul Staines (aka ‘Guido Fawkes’) was notoriously silent on. I seem to recall it involved a small businessman with an interest in a local football team.

Incidentally, how come a smart and motivated chap like yourself doesn’t have their own website or weblog cjcjc?

Ship sticks. Been here twice to today and forgot both time to whore this link…

Here you go folks. Show this to friends, family members, and other outsiders who may be wondering what ‘smeargte’ is all about:
http://www.bloggerheads.com/blog_guide/

PS – Been meaning to blog about Nadine Dorries telling outright fibs on the telly. Ooh, she is naughty.

That is quite funny.

Though where is the McBride character?
Of course – classic – divert attention to the clowns.
Protect Watson and Brown.
(Do it! Do it! Do it!)

Bit late now though.

Rob @39: Cinnamon or Ginger?

* hug *

“Though where is the McBride character?”

Uh-uh. I asked you first:

How come a smart and motivated chap like yourself doesn’t have their own website or weblog cjcjc?

Because I am neither smart nor motivated.

So why should I bother answering your question? Even if you did understand it, you wouldn’t want to do anything about it.

Don’t then.

But I can’t help thinking that you are not helping Sunny get over his Dale obsession, being more than a little obsessed yourself.
(Who gives a f*ck about sock puppetry? I don’t read Dale’s or Guido’s comments anyway.)

And as you can see from the comments above, most people want him to get over it.

It should come as no surprise to listen to the arrogance of Dale and his Tory friends. After all, these people believe deep in their sole that they have a divine right to rule over the rest of us. They view anyone outside of the Tory party as suspect, and not really to be trusted or allowed to hold responsibility.

The Tory blogs have just become an extension of the old Tory newspapers. Private schoolboy humour, bigotry and racism and a letters or comments section full of hate of all things Liberal.

Still, it’s nice to get him on the record admitting that Guido is part of the Tory establishment and not some fringe loony on outer side of politics.

“comments section full of hate of all things Liberal.”

*womanfully resists obvious rejoinder*

CJ: I care about sock puppets because I’ve seen it abused. I help out at times on Lib Dem Voice, there have been times when comments from people claiming to be Lib Dem members have been traced back to Tory locales, always those comments looked plausible and negative “I’ve been campaigning in X by-election, we’re going to lose” etc.

There’s also the well documented case of Mr Shapps MP getting caught out doing very similar on YouTube, on a fairly prominent video. Only it was done using his YouTube, not the sock puppet ID.

They do it because they think it’s effective—I’m not as sure that it is, but if they’re putting effort in to do it, it’s important to at least counter it.

Yes I can see how that kind of thing needs to be monitored.

I’m not sure what harm can be done on self-defined “gossip” sites though.

In fact Watson has now called in the lawyers. Sunny will be pleased.

http://www.order-order.com/2009/04/watson-calls-in-carter-ruck/

No one feigns outrage like the Right.

They are so outraged, that they are keeping this story going as longs as they can. What ever apology Brown gives will never be enough for the fake out ragers.

Er, Sally? It’s Tom Watson who’s just called the lawyers.

I’m not talking about Tom Watson.

I’m taking about the pretend outrage of the Tory party who daily keep this story in the media, while predending that they are so out raged.

I am pleased actually. Iain Dale and Guido have been implying for days that Tom Watson was closely linked to all this without have any evidence other than the fact that Damian McBride CCed him into a conversation (which he might not have wanted to be part of). So Tom Watson is well within his rights to use the law to clear up his name… right?
After all cjcjc – it was your idol Guido Fawkes who used lawyers to shut down people publishing stuff about his past. Surely we can expect Guido Fawkes to apply the same standards to himself that he does for others?

As I have more time now, I’ll address the more substantive point.

This post wasn’t actually meant to be part of a scurrilous gossip piece – I suppose if I started writing posts every day that insinuated that Gordon Brown was homosexual or was autistic – then people have every right to call me out on it.

This article was actually a celebration and a show of strength of the left-wing blogosphere and to point out that there is plenty of good investigative digging, activism, party building and more going on across the broad range. So the stuff on Tory Troll doesn’t have the same tone as stuff on The F Word but they all see themselves on the left. I’m not going to arbitrate here on what is good and what isn’t good content. I think they all serve a purpose for different audiences.

With that in mind – Liberal Conspiracy carries a broad range of content – from different types of articles to different issues. From news stories to thinking pieces to sometimes even interviews. they all serve a purpose – to me – because they have different audiences.

So if the article itself is dishonest in any way, or making a point you disagree with – please point it out. If you think its not the sort of article you’d engage with, please don’t. cheers

Fair enough – though I’m slightly shocked to see you egging Watson on; slightly shocked and strangely disappointed.

Of course he won’t sue, because then he’ll have to open up his email inbox…though as he has nothing to hide…nothing at all to hide…

I’m slightly shocked to see you egging Watson on; slightly shocked and strangely disappointed.

Heh that made me laugh, I bet when Sunny posted that he didn’t expect it to appear on the front page of LabourList!

“Surely we can expect Guido Fawkes to apply the same standards to himself that he does for others?”

Of course not, he is a Tory hypocrite.

I have to agree with IanVisits

Liberal bloggers are just as bad as all the Conservatives that they are consistantly knocking.
The whole point of blogging is to put out new ideas and spark interesting debate. Pointing fingers and name calling brings this whole site down a level. What I would actually like to see would be each side listening to one another and providing interesting views and counterargumen ts that are based on facts and intellect.

leon – no, I don’t expect he did!

lol – I just saw that now. Goddammit, facebook was supposed to be my playing space – and now these mofos just publish everything.

Of course Tom Watson was kidding around (though he isn’t now) because the number for Schillings is easy to find. And why shouldn’t Tom Watson protect his reputation? If I smeared Iain Dale I’d expect him to do the same. Lastly cjcjc – I don’t suppose you believe in that ‘innocent until proven guilty’ palava – or perhaps only when it applies to rightwingers.

Like your ideological ally chavscum – you guys have standards, until its the left which is under attack. then it’s open season.

I just saw the Stirrer piece

In an interview with The Stirrer, Dale confessed there was no evidence to support this assertion. He said, “I do accept that he wasn’t cc’d into the emails.”

He added: “Knowing the layout of that office, I can’t believe he didn’t know about Red Rag, but I can’t prove it.”

When asked why he hadn’t apologised for his error, Dale said that he had only posted it for around 15 minutes on his site on Saturday night, and had even emailed the Mail On Sunday with a correction – which nevertheless repeated the slur.

“I don’t know why they didn’t remove the reference” he said. “I can only assume it arrived too late before they went to press.”

Yup – that pretty much sums up Iain Dale’s shenanigans!

“do it! do it! do it!”

Are you a particular friend of fat git Watson, btw?!
(I think fat git counts as fair comment – more than fair in his case.)

Oh, he’s playing around now too.
If he sues, there will have to be “discovery”.
Which I suspect is the last thing he wants.

You overestimate my standards.
Guido went for Spelman.
If he can find anything on any Tory, that’s fine and dandy with me.

“do it! do it! do it!”

“Like your ideological ally chavscum – you guys have standards, until its the left which is under attack. then it’s open season.”

So true i t needs to be said again.

Sour grapes from the left about right wing blogs? Well I never. Admit it, they’re running rings around you and from this bit of whining it’s easy to see why. The reason they are succesful is because they are free of the cloying party line censoriousness which always fucks up the left in the end. The times I’ve been moderated off CiF for not toing the line is pathetic. Facts as far as the Guardian crew and of the left in general are only sacred, it seems, when they fall in with the goosestep. My offence yesterday was to compare the paedophillia rampant at one time in the Catholic Church with the sanctioned child marriages of twelve year old girls in Islam. For that I was removed. As long as the left follows this route of self deception and selective justice it is finished. And what’s right and left these days anyway? New Labour put paid to the distinction and troughing NL MP’s and Ministers put paid to the holier than thou crowing of the greed once associated with right wing plutocrats. Grow up, for God’s sake! That would be a welcome start.

87. Cheesy Monkey

Nearly a day (and an AC/DC gig) later and still nobody’s managed to cobble a list of five funny Right-wing comedians. And, no, columnists and writers don’t count…

@logdon

I’ve just had a shit. It made more sense than you.

I would say that Bill Hicks is more an anarcho-Christian socialist…

“The reason they are succesful is because they are free of the cloying party line censoriousness which always fucks up the left in the end. ”

Funny that, because I was under the impression that Liberal Conspiracy is independent.

No, i have a different theory. That we live in an age where the average voter has been manipulated into dafault acceptance of knee-jerk, black-and-white right wing simplicity which appeals to a selfishness and greed that the politics of the last 30 years has actively fed and encourged.

Generally, left-wing thnking by necessity goes against this stuff, so rather unsurprisingly isn’t hugely popular given the modern state of society.

Times, however, may well be changing.

89. comment by
Cheesy Monkey

I’ve just had a shit. It made more sense than you.

Such an well reasoned reply. The pathetic, smug and puerile self obsession even descends to own shit worship now? Genuflecting at the altar of your own turds. Why not try a preview with your head up your arse? Actually, judjging by your reply you’re doing that already.

Paul S – false consciousness that used to be called.
If only the masses understood then they would agree with me.
The poor manipulated fools.

92. Cheesy Monkey

@logdon

All I did was read out your comment to my poo as I flushed. “But even I wouldn’t say something so pig-headedly crap”, it burbled as it swirled into U-bend purgatory…

there is a lot going on on the left too

zzzzzzzz ……………

Now, if I’m reading your comment policy aright, Mr Cheesy Monkey is cruising for a deletion. Would that be correct? Or is he excused because he’s being “abusive, sarcastic [and] silly” in the right cause?

95. Cheesy Monkey

Just a (non-abusive, sarcastic or silly) point:

Could the style and tone of various Right-wing blogs be related to said blogs carrying advertising? At the very least, that might be why they have a tendency to massage their ‘viewing figures’…

Interesting points raised.
Ian Dale is above all this childishness you see, and you can see by the fact that he hasn’t posted even once gloating about McBride or Draper.
The right often claims to be ‘better’ than the left, and us lefties will soon wake up and realise how misguided we are. We have to keep going to prove them wrong

“Could the style and tone of various Right-wing blogs be related to said blogs carrying advertising?”

Oooh, do you think?

98. Cheesy Monkey

@Neil

Oooh, do you think?

I generally try not to, but… the urges… keep… taking hold…

My question was somewhat rhetorical, but I’ll add this: certain Right-wing blogs have a curious tendency to continually link to each other’s stories – encouraging quite a bit of click-through traffic to the same small set of blogs. That, and of course, cough, Messagespace, cough.

certain Right-wing blogs have a curious tendency to continually link to each other’s stories

That’s not curious, that’s fairly standard blogging practice—I do it on my personal blog when I can be arsed, as do most other bloggers I read. We tend to do it less on LC (although, palpably, not on this post) as we tend to be more issues based.

I also used to carry adverts when I was trying to build up my own politics blog before we set LC up—it helps pay the bills if you’re self hosting. I didn’t go in with MessageSpace because of the idiocy, but one of the founders of the company is a Labour type (albeit not a particularly succesful blogger, if he was, the Red Rag story would never have happened).

Also, I think you discount diminishing returns—I’ve studied this, as have others. The first time a high traffic blog links to you, you get a lot of incoming traffic, some of that converts into regular readership. The second time the same source links, you get traffic, but the boost is less and you pick up some more. Eventually, the people likely to want to read your stuff read you directly and the click through traffic is insignificant, the high traffic blogs regular readers either already read your stuff or don’t want to and won’t click.

That’s not to say there aren’t other advantages—gaming Wikio/Google for one. But if you keep linking to crap your readers won’t like, then you’ll suffer as well, there’s an inbuilt feedback loop in the whole thing.

The less said about Devil’s Kitchen the better…

Why, thank you.

You know what I think is wrong with many Leftie blogs (and some Righties, sure)? It is that you — and I include LC, LabourList, Tim Ireland, etc. — set up said blogs thinking that you will make a political difference. Many of the “right” blogs do it for fun and, as such, we tend to take ourselves a little less seriously.

Oh, yes, and some of us know what free speech means, Sunny-boy, and we practice it.

DK

DK,

“It is that you — and I include LC, LabourList, Tim Ireland, etc. — set up said blogs thinking that you will make a political difference.”

It depends…

Anyone who writes on a particular policy and imagines that an MP’s going to swan by and think “what a wonderful EDM that’ll make” is clearly silly, but blogging can be used to coordinate campaigns (disseminating information, contacting the likeminded etc.). The LPUK wouldn’t have come together without blogging, and presumably that isn’t purely for fun?

Ben

Going by their policies and their likelihood of success Ben – LPUK probably was set up as a joke. After all, that’s why DK does it.

I think it’s more that it is a small and seemingly select group that are engaging in the mass linking, Matt. Almost like the quality they are admiring is the fact that it’s hosting advertising for a company giving them loads of money rather than agreeing with the content, or something crazy like that.


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