The Top 100 UK Political Blogs

Written by Total Politics has a free weekly Friday email bulletin. Follow this link to register. on 4 September 2008 in Diary
Diary
FROM IAIN DALE More than 1,140 of you voted in the Total Politics blog poll and more than 75 blogs encouraged their readers to take part.

FROM IAIN DALE

More than 1,140 of you voted in the Total Politics blog poll and more than 75 blogs encouraged their readers to take part. This is not a scientific poll, and has never pretended to be, but because of the number of people taking part and the number of blogs promoting it, it is certainly more representative this year than in 2007 and 2006.

The voting system used to compile this list was simple. Bloggers and blog readers were asked to rank their top ten blogs and then email them to Total Politics. The results were then fed into a spreadsheet, with the top blog getting ten points, the second blog nine points, and so on. In total, people voted for more than 590 different blogs. The full list will be printed in the TOTAL POLITICS GUIDE TO POLITICAL BLOGGING IN THE UK 2008-9 (published tomorrow) which you can buy HERE. You will also be able to download it as a free pdf from the site next week.

All the lists contained in the rest of the book are also compiled directly from this main list. So for the first time each list we have published in the last two weeks and featured in the book has been voted for by the public, rather than compiled by an expert panel of bloggers.

The top positions in the Top 200 list are similar to last year’s, although six blogs have broken into the Top 20 — Tom Harris MP, Dan Hannan MEP, Three Line Whip, Hopi Sen, LibDem Voice and John Redwood MP.

  • Out of the Top 20, fifteen blogs are on the right and three are on the left.
  • Out of the Top 100, 48 blogs are on the right and 30 are on the left.
  • The Top 100 features 27 Conservative blogs, 16 Labour and 10 LibDem
  • The Top 200 features 37 Conservative blogs, 33 Labour and 21 LibDem
  • The Top 500 features 105 Conservative blogs, 74 Labour and 56 LibDem
  • Of the Top 500, 170 are on the right and 268 on the left
  • 44 out of the Top 100 were not in last year’s Top 100.

Similar to last year, right of centre blogs still dominate the upper reaches of the chart. Last year I predicted that three or four left of centre blogs would challenge at the top. That hasn’t quite happened, although Tom Harris MP and Hopi Sen may well do so in the next twelve months. The left of centre group blog Liberal Conspiracy is also set to break into the top 20 and has grown in popularity in a very short time.

Voting this year appeared to come from a much wider range of bloggers than before, mainly because around 75 different blogs advertised the vote on their sites. Liberal Conspiracy encouraged a boycott of the whole exercise as they felt that because it was being organized by someone on the right, right wing bloggers would be the only beneficiaries. The boycott was boycotted by most blogs on the left, and for good reason if you look at the fact that there are now far more left of centre blogs in the Top 500 than right of centre ones — 268 to 170. The challenge now for those blogs is to turn their numerical superiority into extra readers who stick with them.

Up to now, I have been relatively dismissive of left of centre blogs as I felt they tended to very insular and only spoke to themselves. Successful blogs tend to attract readers from all over the political spectrum, and are not just echo chambers. At least, that’s one definition of success. Blogs like Hopi Sen and the LibDem People’s Republic of Mortimer have risen high in the chart because they were very well written, at times quite humorous, but also provide an insight for outsiders to the way their political mindset works.

Then, of course, there are the so-called Marmite blogs — the ones you either love or hate. Donal Blaney, Devil’s Kitchen and Nadine Dorries on the right, and to a lesser extent Recess Monkey on the left, have all carved out that particular niche for themselves.

It has been hugely disappointing that the last twelve months has seen no rise in the number of blogging MPs. The only notable arrival is Labour Minister Tom Harris MP. Our politicians seem to love reading blogs but fear writing them. Perhaps that will never change, but those who fear blogging should look at the example of John Redwood MP whose blog has become required reading for anyone interested in economic policy. But not only is he attracting regular readers on the right, he’s also getting the media reading his blog, and people on the left.

The main blogs have all experienced a continuing rise is readers. This year has seen huge controversies in the blogging world about the way in which blog statistics are counted. Most bloggers now use Google Analytics to count their readers, with Absolute Unique Visitors as the yardstick by which blogs are judged. Newspaper websites still use pageviews as their method of counting readers.

Guido Fawkes became the first blogger to reach 100,000 absolute unique visitors in any one month, with my blog reaching 70,000. But you don’t have to go much further down the Top 10 to find blogs which struggle to reach 20,000. PoliticalBetting has never published its absolute unique visitor count but boasts of being the most popular blog in the country by virtue of the fact that it has more than 1 million pageviews a month. What it doesn’t tell you is that many of its readers spend all evening on the site hitting refresh.

An interesting move in the last few months was the purchase by the New Statesman of LabourHome. They apparently paid more than £50,000, which for a blog which attracts a relatively small readership was quite some feat for its owners Alex Hilton and Jag Singh. It has struggled to emulate its Conservative equivalent because it has never had a full time editor. Guido Fawkes reckoned his site was now worth in excess of £1 million based on the valuation of LabourHome, but he misses an important point. Single person blogs are valueless to an outside buyer without the person who made the blog successful in the first place. They can only ever gain any value by moving within the ambit of the mainstream media.

What will the next twelve months bring? Here are seven predictions...

  • Labour blogs will become more prominent as the media seeks controversial views on the Labour leadership
  • The MSM will make further efforts to lure several of the more well known bloggers to blog for them
  • LibDem Voice will receive a cash injection similar to LabourHome from a rich LibDem donor
  • One big blogger will shock the blogging world by giving up
  • Liberal Conspiracy will make headway in the next twelve months and double its readership
  • ConservativeHome will undergo a transformation with Tim Montgomerie concentrating on other projects and Jonathan Isaby giving the site a makeover
  • Blog readership will increase by 50%

So, here, at long last is the Top 100... Remember, it's not meant to be scientific, and has never pretended to be! Last year's position is in brackets. You can see positions 200-101 on the Total Politics Campaigns Blog HERE.

1. (2) Guido Fawkes

2. (1) Iain Dale

3. (4) Conservative Home

4. (3) Dizzy Thinks

5. (-) Political Betting

6. (-) Devil's Kitchen

7. (9) Spectator Coffee House

8. (12) Burning our Money

9. (42) John Redwood

10. (14) Ben Brogan

11. (20) EU Referendum

12. (15)Tim Worstall

13. (0) Tom Harris MP

14. (13) Archbishop Cranmer

15. (54) LibDem Voice

16. (16) Mr Eugenides

17. (-) Hopi Sen

18. (85) Daniel Hannan MEP

19. (-) Three Line Whip

20. (70) Stumbling & Mumbling

21. (35) Donal Blaney

22. (128) Boulton & Co

23. (-) Liberal Conspiracy

24. (8) Nick Robinson

25. (-) People's Republic of Mortimer

26. (11) Recess Monkey

27. (56) Adam Smith Institute

28. (27) Comment Central

29. (72) Luke Akehurst

30. (47) Waendel Journal

31. (38) LabourHome

32. (30) Ministry of Truth

33. (22) Tom Watson MP

34. (33) Nadine Dorries

35. (46) Dave's Part

36. (-) Letters from a Tory

37. (17) Norfolk Blogger

38. (-) Shane Greer

39. (-) Sadie's Tavern

40. (45) Samizdata

41. (32) Slugger O'Toole

42. (111) A Very British Dude

43. (21) Harry's Place

44. (-) SNP Tactical Voting

45. (61) Quaequam Blog

46. (104) UK Polling Report

47. (182) Socialist Unity

48. (59) Daily Referendum

49. (53) Liberal England

50. (172) Lynne Featherstone MP

51. (18) Paul Linford

52. (68) City Unslicker/Capitalists at Work

53. (51) Our Kingdom

54. (-) Labour Outlook

55. (63) Millennium Dome Elephant

56. (155) Paul Scully

57. (-) A Very Public Sociologist

58. (90) Peter Black AM

59. (78) Glyn Davies

60. (195) Obsolete

61. (99) Ordovicius

62. (-) UK Libertarian Party

63. (40) Biased BBC

64. (7) Croydonian

65. (69) James Cleverly

66. (-) Is There More to Life Than Shoes

67. (-) J Arthur MacNumpty

68. (120) Normblog

69. (-) Raedwald

70. (-) Three Thousand Versts

71. (-) Tory Bear

72. (-) Miss Wagstaff Presents

73. (52) Bloggers4Labour

74. (-) Pint of Unionist Lite

75. (151) Theo's Blog

76. (-) Kezia Dugdale's Soapbox

77. (71) Beau Bo D'Or

78. (25) Bob Piper

79. (-) David Cornock

80. (-) Forgesian Thinking

81. (-) Heresy Corner

82. (103) Love & Liberty

83. (125) The Daily (Maybe)

84. (161) Peter Hitchens

85. (81) Melanie Phillips

86. (0) Redemption's Son

87. (10) Ellee Seymour

88. (0) Lenin's Tomb

89. (83) Liberal Burblings

90. (-) Scottish Tory Boy

91. (-) Stuart King

92. (86) Matt Wardman

93. (34) Pickled Politics

94. (0) Ewan Watt

95. (41) An Englishman's Castle

96. (0) Centre Right

97. (0) Never Trust a Hippy

98. (0) Red Box

99. (76) Chris Paul's Labour of Love

100. (50) Last Ditch

All the blog lists, along with articles by leading bloggers are published in the Guide to Political Blogging in the UK 2008-9 which is published tomorrow and will be available at all the party conferences. You can now also pre-order it via the Total Politics website for £12 inc p&p. You will receive it in mid September.

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