My top 100 Lib Dem blogs

by Stephen Tall on August 4, 2007

Have you got any salt handy? Okay, take a pinch, take two – hell, get a wheelbarrow.

A few weeks ago, Iain Dale e-mailed me and a handful of other Lib Dem bloggers asking us to rate and rank the Lib Dem blogs in preparation for the 2007 Guide to Political Blogging in the UK, to be published by Harriaman House. After a bit of umming and ah-ing, I chose to do it, if only to avoid the repeat of the superb Millennium Elephant Diary trailing in 77th, as it did in 2006.

And, actually, I’m pretty damn glad I did it, as I discovered a number of terrific blogs, which, though I might have glanced at previously , had scarcely taken the time and trouble to read properly. Almost without exception I found it well worth the effort.

But I still want to enter a number of massive caveats for what follows.

First, any attempt to rank blogs is utterly doomed – taste is so subjective, and I have no doubt that, given I ranked the Lib Dem blogs over several days, my ratings were subtly different each time. Second caveat: there are miniscule differences between the blogs: my top-rated blog, Lib Dem Voice – of which I am commissioning editor – scored 85 (out of 100); the 50th placed blog scored only 20 fewer, at 65%. Unsurprisingly, a load of blogs tied, for which I make no apology.

Thirdly, I marked according to the 10 categories Iain gave me: design, frequency of posting, writing style, personality , humour, commentary, popularity, independence of thought, range of posts, and interaction with readers.

Some of my favourite blogs were ranked lower, overall, than I would have anticipated because they scored poorly according to one or two of these measures: for example, some of those bloggers whose posts are essential-reading (eg, Alex Wilcock, Iain Sharpe, Joe Otten) post sporadically. Tom Papworth’s blog, one of the best around, is currently unavailable. Others say what they want to say terrifically, but have poorly designed blogs, or don’t attract many comments. Et cetera, et cetera. (I ranked my own – it seemed equally silly to do so, or not to do so. On this ocasion, I followed my ego…)

As you’ll have gathered from this post’s undue length, I’m slightly trying to postpone the moment when I lay out my top 100 (though I realise you’ll already have scrolled down), precisely because I realise quite how imperfect it is, and quite how unfair I might have been. Whatever, I’ve already sent it to Iain Dale, so it seems only fair to post it here.

Genuinely, if you feel I’ve cocked-up dreadfully, over-looked your blog (or someone else’s), or been too harsh/favourable, please do let me know.

1. Lib Dem Voice http://www.libdemvoice.org
2. Quaequam Blog! James Graham http://www.theliberati.net/quaequamblog/
3. Liberal England Jonathan Calder http://liberalengland.blogspot.com/
4. Liberal Burblings Paul Walter http://paulwalter.blogspot.com/
=5. Peter Black AM http://peterblack.blogspot.com/
=5. Millennium Dome, Elephant http://millenniumelephant.blogspot.com/
=7. Norfolk Blogger Nich Starling http://norfolkblogger.blogspot.com/
=7. Jock Coats http://www.jockcoats.org.uk
9. A Liberal Goes A Long Way Stephen Tall http://oxfordliberal.blogspot.com/
10. Love and Liberty Alex Wilcock http://loveandliberty.blogspot.com/
=11. Hot, Ginger & Dynamite Paul Evans http://gingeranddynamite.blogspot.com/
=11. The Posh Sounding Northumbrian Rob Fenwick http://www.northumbrian.org.uk/
13. Jonathan Fryer http://jonathanfryer.wordpress.com/
14. Andy Mayer http://andymayer.blogspot.com/
=15. Ed Maxfield http://owersby.wordpress.com/
=15. Niles’s Blog Alex Foster http://www.alexfoster.me.uk/
=17. Jonathan Wallace http://jonathanwallace.blogspot.com/
=17. Liberal Legend II Toby Philpott http://www.liberallegend2.blogspot.com/
=17. Matt Davies http://mattdaviesharingey.blogspot.com/
=17. Liberal (Not so) Alone Tristan Mills http://www.eridu.org.uk/blog/
=17. Jonny Wright http://hugahoodie.blogspot.com/
=17. Cicero’s Songs James Oates http://cicerossongs.blogspot.com/
23. No Geek Is An Island Will Howells http://www.willhowells.org.uk/blog//
=24. Mike Barker http://www.cllrmikebarker.blogspot.com/
=24. Lynne Featherstone MP http://www.lynnefeatherstone.org/blog.htm
=24. Duncan Borrowman http://duncanborrowman.blogspot.com/
=24. The Diary of Chris K. Chris Keating http://clickeral.blogspot.com/
=28. Liberal Bureaucracy Mark Valladares http://liberalbureaucracy.blogspot.com/
=28. All Along the Watchtower Stephen Morgan http://strmrgn.livejournal.com/
=28. Greengauge Stephen Gauge http://stevengauge.wordpress.com/
=28. Liberal Mafia Don Liberali http://liberalimafia.blogspot.com/
=28. David Nikel http://davidnikel.wordpress.com/
=28. Adrian Sanders MP http://blog.myspace.com/adriansandersmp
=34. Lindyloo’s Muze Linda Jack http://lindyloosmuze.blogspot.com/
=34. Jeremy Hargreaves http://www.jeremyhargreaves.org/blog/
=34. Republic of Hyde Park David Morton http://republicofhydepark.blogspot.com/
=34. Liberal Leslie Christopher Leslie http://www.liberalleslie.blog.co.uk/
=34. Agent Mancuso http://agentmancuso.wordpress.com/
=34. What You Can Get Away With Nick Barlow http://www.nickbarlow.com/blog/
=34. Mary Reid http://www.maryreid.org.uk/
=41. The Webb Log Steve Webb MP http://webbsteve.blogspot.com/
=41. Young British & Liberal http://youngbritishandliberal.wordpress.com/
=41. Whiskey Priest Gavin Whenman http://oberon2001.blogspot.com/
=41. Hunting for Witches Leo Watkins http://huntingforwitches.blogspot.com/
=41. Bernard Woolley http://www.cttlom.blogspot.com/
=41. Anders Hanson http://andershanson.wordpress.com/
=41. Forceful & Moderate http://forcefulandmoderate.blogspot.com/
=41. Stodge Salim Fadhley http://blog.stodge.org/
49. Hapless Band of Staff and Regulars Ryan Cullen http://blog.artesea.co.uk/
=50. Liberal Review Apollo Blog http://www.liberalreview.com/blogs/apollo
=50. Paula Keaveney http://www.paulakeaveney.blogspot.com/
=50. de moribus liberalibus David Rundle http://liberalibus.blogspot.com/
=53. A Radical Writes John Dixon http://aradicalwrites.blogspot.com/
=53. Process Guy Andy Strange http://processguy.blogspot.com/
=53. Long Despairing Young Something Gareth Aubrey http://auberius.blogspot.com/
=53. Disgruntled Radical David Grace http://disgruntledradical.blogspot.com/
=53. Brian Sloan http://sloanerf1.livejournal.com/
=58. Rick’s St Mary’s Diary Richard Baum http://richardbaum.blogspot.com/
=58. Letters from Letterman Carl Qulliam http://www.fromletterman.blogspot.com/
=58. Barcharters Anonymous http://barcharter.blogspot.com/
=58. Blunt & Disorderly http://paswonky.blogspot.com/
=62. The Yorkshire Guidon Stewart Arnold http://theyorkshireguidon.wordpress.com/
=62. Moonlight over Essex Chris Black http://essexmoonlight.blogspot.com/
=62. Colin Ross http://www.colin-ross.org.uk/
=62. Mindrobber Andrew Hinton http://mindrobber.blogspot.com/
=62. Caron Lindsay http://carons-musings.blogspot.com/
=62. And Then He Said Andy Darley http://www.andthenhesaid.com/blog/
=62. Sajjad Karim MEP http://sajjadkarimmep.blogspot.com/
=69. Mike Bell http://mikebell.wordpress.com/
=69. Eaten by Missionaries Iain Sharpe http://eatenbymissionaries.blogspot.com/
=69. Joe Otten http://joeotten.blogspot.com/
=69. On Liberty Online Joe Taylor http://onlibertyonline.blogspot.com/
=69. Free Think Centre Forum http://www.freethink.org/blog/
=69. Arwen Folkes http://arwenfolkes.blogspot.com/
=69. The 3 P’s Dave Radcliffe http://radders73.blogspot.com/
=69. Belsize Lib Dems http://www.belsizelibdems.org.uk/
=69. Simon Jeram http://blog.biscit.me.uk/
=69. Chris & Glynis Abbott http://www.chrisandglynisabbott.blogspot.com/
=79. A Liberal Dose Neil Fawcett http://liberalneil.blogspot.com/
=79. Ming Campbell MP Ming Campbell MP http://www.mingcampbell.org.uk/
=79. The Sandals are Off Steve Guy http://www.sguy.net/
=79. 5tracks Ryan Morrison http://www.5tracks.eu/

=79. Pink Dog http://pinkdogster.blogspot.com/
=79. Progressive Politics Barrie Wood http://leftleaningpolitics.blogspot.com/
=79. Combe Down Ward Roger Symonds http://www.combedown.blogspot.com/

=79. David Watts http://cllrdavidwatts.blogspot.com/
=79. My tale of me Chris Jenkinson http://mytaleofme.blogspot.com/
=88. Justine McGuinness http://justinemcguinness.blogspot.com/
=88. Jo Hayes http://johayes-wire.blogspot.com/
=88. Jo Christie-Smith http://www.jochristiesmith.blogspot.com/
=88. Graham Watson MEP http://www.grahamwatsonmep.org/pages/blog.html
=88. Ballots, Balls & Bikes Tony Ferguson http://ballotsballsandbikes.blogspot.com/
=88. Anything Caron Can Do Iain Dale http://anything-caron-can-do.blogspot.com/
=88. Weblog of a liberal George Beevor http://georgebeevor.typepad.co.uk/
=88. Richard Allan Richard Allan http://www.richardallan.org.uk/
=96. Politically Restricted Southwark Lib Dem Group http://politicallyrestricted.blogspot.com/
=96. Richard Stevens http://www.richardstevens.blogspot.com/
=96. PoliticalDom Dominic Tristram http://politicaldom.blogspot.com/
=99. Bart Ricketts Bart Ricketts http://www.bartricketts.co.uk/
=99. Liberal Action Austin Rathe http://liberalaction.typepad.com/liberal_action/

UPDATE: Paul Evans’ excellent Ginger & Dynamite blog got relegated owing to an Excel error on my part; he’s been restored top his rightful position, joint 11th. With sincere apologies to him (and to everyone below 11th who finds themselves relegated one place!).

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22 comments

79th? I’m going to bite your ankles next time. Grrrrrrr.

by I'm pink. I'm a dog. And I blog. on August 4, 2007 at 9:30 am. Reply #

Sorry, I’ve been mildly dog-phobic since I was 3…

by Stephen Tall on August 4, 2007 at 9:34 am. Reply #

You must have caught me on some VERY good days!

by Brian on August 4, 2007 at 10:47 am. Reply #

“Tom Papworth’s blog, one of the best around, is currently unavailable.”

So is Simon Mollan’s. I hate when the good ones stop blogging. 🙁

by Anonymous on August 4, 2007 at 11:17 am. Reply #

I too have been asked to judge and yes, it took ages, yes it is very subjective, but it struck me that we have some brilliant Lib Dem blogs that cross the spectrum from libertarian to statist and include economic liberals and real liberal soicalists. We are a broad church indeed.

by Norfolk Blogger on August 4, 2007 at 12:33 pm. Reply #

Tristan Mills seems to have changed his blog’s name to “Liberty Alone”.

If I understood his message correctly, Agent Mancuso has stopped blogging. 🙁

I’m a bit confused now, I’m not sure which one is Salim Fadhley’s real blog, this one or this one.

I think (but I’m not sure) that this is the new URL of Andy Darley’s blog. (?)

Though you have the correct URL ( http://www.sguy.net/ ) to Steve Guy’s blog, the link actually leads to Ming Campbell’s site.

Personally I like Charles Anglin’s blog, but it is true that he could post more often. It’s also a pity that Martin Tod has been lately too busy to blog.

by Anonymous on August 4, 2007 at 12:43 pm. Reply #

Forceful & Moderate hasn’t posted for quite a while, almost five months actually, so though I personally liked the blog, I think it might be placed too high in your list.

by Anonymous on August 4, 2007 at 12:52 pm. Reply #

Thank you for including me! I would also say that dogs are the best although not behind a letterbox.

by F on August 4, 2007 at 12:54 pm. Reply #

Have you noticed, that the link you provided for Jock Coats’s blog redirects to http://www.jockcoats.org.uk/ ? Maybe it would be better to use that URL.

by Anonymous on August 4, 2007 at 1:47 pm. Reply #

Thanks for various url corrections, all now hopefully corrected…

cheers, stephen

by Stephen Tall on August 4, 2007 at 2:41 pm. Reply #

Well, still when you click http://www.andthenhesaid.com/blog/ you’ll get to http://random-incident.journalspace.com/ , and when you click http://www.sguy.net/ , you’ll get to http://www.mingcampbell.org.uk/

by Anonymous on August 4, 2007 at 4:39 pm. Reply #

Yes, the last accurate URI for my blog before I suspended writing in it was the andthenhesaid address.

I wish this list had been posted *before* it was sent to Iain Dale, as I would have been asked to be removed from it.

One, I don’t actually blog any more – I might start it again, but I have no plans to at the moment.

Two, although I’m a loyal Lib Dem member and I used to write an online diary, I never really bought into the idea I was a Lib Dem blogger. I started on DeadJournal as one of a group of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans who migrated there from a fan forum in November 2002, and the period of time I spent writing about politics was tiny – just a few months in those years. So I don’t actually think I qualify for the list.

Thirdly, as I’ve made clear elsewhere, I don’t want any involvement with Dale’s attempts to cast himself as the spokesperson for political blogging, and therefore don’t want to be included in any of his lists.

Stephen, since you’ve sent him the list already, would you mind contacting him asking for me to be removed?

Many thanks,

Andy Darley

by Andy on August 4, 2007 at 5:15 pm. Reply #

i was going to feel upset, but then i actually read the list and realised that I’m higher up than Ryan Cullen 🙂

Which I’m sure he’ll be pleased about next time i see him

Stephen Morgan
http://strmrgn.livejournal.com/

by Stephen on August 4, 2007 at 11:15 pm. Reply #

WOOHOO 53rd, and I’ve only been blogging 2 months! btw my site is actually http:/www.aradicalwrites.blogspot.com not http:/aradicalwrites.blogspot.com.
Could you please rectify this as it appears to have happened on libdemvoice as well so the links don’t work.

by a radical writes on August 5, 2007 at 2:10 pm. Reply #

Only one female blogger – the venerable Lynne Featherstone – is higher placed than me. But I’m at no 33! So where are all the women?

by Mary Reid on August 5, 2007 at 2:15 pm. Reply #

Mary:
That is a cry across the political blogs. There are not that many around 🙁

I see a few there though, we just need to get them blogging more often frequently.

by Tristan on August 6, 2007 at 12:25 pm. Reply #

I come higher than Alex Foster? Mr Dale has supplied you with screwy metrics… but thanks.

by Rob Fenwick on August 6, 2007 at 4:18 pm. Reply #

Thanks, folks, for comments – I’ve appended one erratum to the post, which has altered lots of positions. Sorry!

Andy – comments noted, and passed on to Iain. Shame, as I think it’s good to promote good writing, and I like your blog.

As ‘Red Ken’ said of the Murdoch press when he started writing a column in The Sun: “I boycotted it for 5 years, but it was still there.”

Mary – agreed, the lack of female bloggers (and commenters on blogs) is a shame. It’s unhealthy for the ‘blogosphere’.

by Stephen Tall on August 6, 2007 at 9:04 pm. Reply #

Honestly. A man temporarily takes his blog offline during a by-election and he’s treated like he’s died or gone to the Tories!

by Tom Papworth on August 6, 2007 at 10:44 pm. Reply #

How many of these blogs are doing anything useful, because the Lib Dem party itself is NOT?

by jamal on August 19, 2007 at 4:20 pm. Reply #

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