December 05, 2007

Peter Franklin on Blogs

Peter Franklin has written an article on blogging for Conservative Home. He says that there is an elite of blogs, defined by whether politicians read them. He lists Guido Fawkes, Iain Dale and Conservative Home- with a couple of media blogs as being that UK political elite. Well he may be right about those blogs being the ones that politicians read- but that has nothing to do with the idea that they are actually the best blogs out there. Indeed one of those blogs- Guido's- is very far from one of the best blogs out there, imitating the actions of Matt Drudge, the fact that the political elite follows it tells us more about the elite than it does about the qualities of Guido's blogging. (Incidentally the best one on that list is Conservative Home- but given that Franklin excludes CIF on the grounds of its sprawling nature- I wonder how he navigates the site that he works for!)

There are some great blogs out there- Mr Franklin and his chums should start reading. There is interesting intellectual thought being done throughout the internet about the problems of politics- not the problems of whether Gordon Brown picked his nose or not. Harry's Place for example is at the heart of any internet discussion about the interface between religion and politics. Pickled Politics is a great group blog for getting into Asian politics. You'll see better rightwing commentary than Guido has ever written on the Devil's Kitchen and Mr Eugenides and you'll understand the intellectual foundations of the right much more if you read Matt Sinclair. Peter Franklin thinks that the left isn't doing well on the sphere- well Chris Dillow and the Ministry of Truth would disagree, as would Not just a Hippy and they'd be right. I could go on naming blogs that inspire thinking about politics- could go on ad infinitum but I won't, I think most people reading this blog are aware of the good stuff that is being put out there on the net- and know that there is far more to the British blogosphere than hand me down gossip from Westminster and fake revelations from Nick Robinson. Afterall two of the biggest campaigns of the last year- Dan Hardie's for the Iraqi interpreters and the campaign against Usmanov had almost nothing to do with the Franklin's elite (though Dale was involved in the second).

Lastly the idea that the gossip blogs are radical is about as stupid as it comes- they aren't radical at all. They are the work of insiders- insiders who are purveying stuff that used to be leaked to Westminster correspondents. The more interesting work is going on outside of those blogs- is going on when Conservative Home analyses an issue, when the EU blogs get hold of a report, when political betting works out where the market stands on an election- that's the interesting bit of political blogging and its the new bit. And based on the American example its the bit hopefully that will grow and grow.


Sam Coates said...

Thanks for your praise. I also prefer the specialist, niche element of blogs than their potential for spreading gossip.

btw, we don't pay the columnists so Peter doesn't technically work for CH.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised not to have been mentioned - as you know I cam 287,000 th in a list of UK political bloggers...

Political Umpire said...

The day my blog is endorsed by politicians is the day I will stop writing it ... ok maybe not, but I certainly wouldn't call it an endorsement!

Gracchi said...

Don't worry PU it never will be! I think your blog is safe- its far too good for a politician to read.

Mutley I restricted myself to human beings- you are definitely the best dog blogging out there.

Sam ah I didn't realise- but I do enjoy Conservative Home- I love the editorial bits of it and have enjoyed disagreeing with them several times!

Guido Fawkes Esq. said...

Word to the wise.

Is it so terrible to be so popular?

Is it really better to comment-on-comment in a boring way? Some of us get news stories, some of us contemplate the news.

Not better, just different. It is harder to do what I do than to write five hundred words on policy, which is what so many boring blogs do, and that is a lot easier than chasing down stories.

At the end of the day people will choose to read what they want, I find comment-on-comment blogs as dull as their prose. In a free market the people choose, and they choose the popular blogs for one good reason, appealing content.

Producing appealing content is very difficult, try it sometime.

edmund said...

mGracchi i have to say i think the gossip blogs are more important and "radical" than you give them credit for- they allow rumous and facts to reach a much wider if still small circle- massivley increasing the chances of persistant stories breaking

Guido t her'es no need to be mindlessly abusive just becuase people have differnet views on what they like in blogging.