A belated welcome to Politics Home

by Stephen Tall on April 8, 2008

No offence was intended… Lib Dem Voice forgot to remark yesterday upon the appearance of the new Politics Home website, Stephan Shakespeare’s grown-up, non-partisan successor to the Tory telly of 18 Doughty Street – a noble example of dumbing-up, as 18DS’s Fox News style is ditched in favour of a Bloomberg-esque design.

Actually, Politics Home’s approach is more akin to the USA’s indispensable RealClearPolitics – aggregating the latest news and political comment, rather than employing a team of original thinkers – but with two noteworthy add-ons.

First, its impressively dogged commitment “to log, summarise and transcribe every key political appearance on TV or radio”. (But not GQ magazine, we might hope).

And, secondly, it’s recruitment of a politically-balanced (we’re assured) panel of 100 “MPs and peers, including Ministers and Opposition frontbenchers; political advisors and officials; leaders of think-tanks, charities, professional bodies and voluntary organisations; and senior journalists and commentators,” all of whom get polled each morning to give an instant, informed response to key issues. (Declaration of interest: I’m one of ‘em, though I don’t get paid or anything sullied like that).

It’ll be especially interesting to see how this latter virtual focus group develops. Will it be seen to be too elite, or does it give a fast-track to the thinking of key opinion formers? It offers harmless, interesting insights, such as today’s analysis of the ‘seven deadly sins’ in politics. (Though I might not be the only Lib Dem to wonder why the party was so abused by the media for its despatch of Charles Kennedy, given that almost 90% of the PH100 thought a politician’s alcohol problems matter to the public).

Politics Home is still in ‘beta-mode’ (ie, they’re still fixing the stuff that doesn’t quite work yet), but is well worth a browse.