FOLLOWING my earlier post inviting readers to vote for their top ten blogs, I’ve been doing some serious thinking about my own nominations.
First, some ground rules. I’ve decided not to nominate blogs by professional working journalists. That’s not because they’re not worth reading – I’m a big fan of Ben Brogan, Coffee House, Three Line Whip and Red Box – but because blogging should be owned by the amateurs; journalists with loads of professional support and a well-financed backroom are cheating. It’s a bit like Wayne Rooney deciding to play for a Sunday league team in his spare time.
I’ve also decided to adopt Eurovision Song Contest rules so will
only vote for those with whom I have a historical political allegiance not vote for myself.
So, after weeks of careful consideration, I’ve finally settled on my Top Ten (cue Alan Freeman music…). And they are, in reverse order:
In at number 10, we have Railway Eye, a well-informed and humorous blog. I love its Railway Garden Competition. Don’t particularly like their criticism of me, but that’s blogs for you.
At number 9, SNP Tactical Voting, not as partisan as you might think, well-written and informative.
A new entry at number 8 – Hopi Sen’s Blog from the Backroom (“They’re all new entries – this is the first year you’ve done this” – Ed). Written by a former Labour staffer, so he knows the party inside out.
And at number 7, my parliamentary colleague Kerry McCarthy. This really is a great read, although she’s a vegetarian, otherwise she would have got a higher spot…
Number 6 has been around for a while but is still very sharp: Recess Monkey, offering ruthlessly partisan gossip (hooray!) with appropriate respect to the art of karaoke.
And at number 5 – it wouldn’t be a party without him: Iain Dale, the king of the bloggers and not as bad as most Tories. Far more slavish to the Cameroon line than he will admit, but still an excellent read. All Labour-supporting bloggers could learn a thing or two from him.
Sadie’s Tavern is at number 4, despite my having become aware of it only relatively recently. I love her writing style and she has a healthy cynicism towards our colleagues in the print media, as well as good taste in movies.
At number 3, the brilliant Scottish Tory Boy. No idea who this guy is but I like him for two reasons: first, he’s got the guts to stand up for his party, even when it’s as popular in Scotland as a rabies outbreak at Crufts, and second, because of his sense of humour. He gets the number three position for this post alone, which really made me laugh.
And so to the top two – who will scoop the top spot, and will anyone really care?
In at number 2 is my old boss, Colin Byrne, with his excellent site, Byrne Baby Byrne (geddit?), a very down-to-earth and – absolutely crucial, this – well-written blog about politics and culture in most of its forms. Okay, he wasn’t really my boss, but when I was the Scottish party’s press officer, he was the guy who decided whether or not I would serve on the dreaded late accreditations desk at annual conference or not. And usually I did. Sod.
And at the coveted number 1 spot, it’s Scotland’s very own Kezia Dugdale and her soapbox. If blogs are to flourish in the future, it will be because they’re better than the traditional press at unearthing juicy stories. That’s exactly what Kez did during the Glasgow East by-election, revealing a little-reported incident involving the Deputy First Minister, Smilin’ Nicola Sturgeon, who paid Kez the compliment of contacting her to demand the post in question be removed. Class.
And that’s it for this year. Apologies to everyone who’s not included, and particularly to those who care (both of you). I’ll send these off to Total Politics now, and wait with the rest of you with bated breath for the results.