Awards, awards everywhere, and not a drop to drink!*

*We hope otherwise.

The Lib Dem blogosphere has got award-happy lately, what with Mr Dale’s Compleat Almanack of Most Excellente Torie Bloggers (And Some Scurvie Leftie Scumme, Regrettablie), our own Lib Dem Blog of the Year Awards, now in their fourth year, Alex Wilcock’s Tons More Fun™ self-gratification meme and, of course, SB’s Very Prestigious (And Entirely Serious) Blog Awards delivered in a rich imperial shade of purple, the sidebar button that made my nicey-nice, restrained, olive-and-russet-and-antique-cream coloured blog look as if it had drunk one too many tequila slammers and got itself a tattoo.

Mr Dale’s, &c

I ended up, like many others, doing this in a bit of rush because the deadline moved, and my reasoning  was but a confused mish-mash of what I had always loved and what was floating in the top of my mind that week.

So I can’t be confident that my choices are necessarily in the right order. I am pretty sure that Lib Dem Voice and Liberal Conspiracy should respectively top-and-tail the list. But everyone in between is really just a flavour in a mixed ciabatta filling. I mean, how on earth would you determine whether the prawn or the mayonnaise forms the vital ingredient in a prawn cocktail? Which came first, the olive or the cube of feta? I can only apologise for my glibness in chucking y’all into the salad spinner to fend for yourselves and hope that my particular configuration doesn’t cause some vital slippage or other in the table as a whole.

1. Lib Dem Voice – you are our bitches. And you know you are. That is all.

2. Stumbling and Mumbling – Chris Dillow is, for my money, the best political blogger writing today. It wouldn’t be true to say I never miss a post – generally it takes me 72 hours to digest all the implications of each one, which is my problem rather than his. Tends to be underlinked to in the blogosphere, I think because so often there’s nothing to add. He’s just right.

3. Millennium Elephant – Feet of fluff, mind of steel, buns of stickiness. And oh he is so CUTE! Always high quality, bedazzling at his frequent best (this is perhaps his finest hour). And his services to party blogging this past year in arranging interviews have been tremendous. I can’t be the only one thinking that surely this is his year… (see below)

4. Jock’s Place (Jock Coats) – a true radical free thinker in a sea of patter and chatter. Reading his stuff – usually with Wikipedia open in another tab – reminds me what blogging is capable of. This is exactly the sort of easy-come, easy-go popularity contest he probably won’t do that well in – a world where Dizzy Thinks is branded a critical intellectual is a cruel one. But we’re far more likely to see the adjective “Coatsian” enter the political lexicon than “Daleian”, quite frankly.

5. The Real Blog (David Boyle) – some rather similar sentiments apply as to Jock and Chris Dillow. David Boyle would be a shoe-in for Lib Dem Blogger of the Year if he took enough time out from his busy schedule of Being Brilliant to write more a couple of posts a month if we’re lucky. But of course, why would he? He hasn’t even had time to add any fiddly bits or buttons to his off-the-shelf blog design. Pure class.

6. BorisWatch ( NOT .com) Clarification became necessary when I discovered that is some demented fanboy site which, among other nefarious acitivites, sells Boriswear. The flavour, on the other hand, is “an attempt to enhance the accountability of the new London mayoralty” and does so with perspicacity, aplomb and top class research in the face of oh-my-god-you’re-like-soooo-funny Tory trolling.

7. The Yorksher Gob (Jennie Rigg) – funny and northern and passionate and northern and clever and northern. And did I mention northern? Also, much more innovative as a writer than most of us, with our tendency to write essays which just happen to be on a screen rather than on paper – newspaper columnists in thirty years time, I submit, will write like Jennie. Above all, my favourite kind of feminist –  one that bloody gets on with it.

8. Quaequam blog! (James Graham)He can kill you with a thought! Especially if you omit the exclamation mark! Still the party’s best blogging artillery, scarily incisive and regularly reduces the blogosphere to sensible discourse by the simple means of threatening to be slightly sarcastic. One of the few blogs where I genuinely read every post. Even the ones about comics sometimes.

9. Blunt and Disorderly – a well-established blog which nonetheless came to my notice only quite recently owing, for some reason, to a post about incest, and despite the unpromising beginning went straight onto my favourites. A dilettantish mind which tends to rocket off in all directions – never a bad thing.

10. Liberal Conspiracy – whose government is it anyway? Sunny Hundal has hiked this collective blog (co-starring yours truly when I feel I have something to say that a bunch of Labourites won’t pointlessly shoot me down for) from zero to a major player in a matter of months. And whether you read it for its innate qualities or with the eerie fascination of a NuLab ambulance-chaser, it’s strangely compulsive.

Lib Dem Blog Awards

Best new Liberal Democrat blog (started since 1st August 2007)

This is in many ways the hardest nomination. It’s been a burgeoning year for Lib Dem blogs, so far as I can see. Special mentions (for what they’re worth) go to James Schneider for being effortlessly widely-read, thoughtful and interesting from the off, and Alasdair Wood for blogging passionately and prolifically about every weighty matter that cross his voracious mind at an age where I personally was still obsessed with owning a pony. But after much umming and ahhing, I have settled on Steph Ashley. Mainly because she’s a fabulously entertaining writer, but also, I think, because of this post, in which she discovers, at an unfairly premature juncture, some of the hazards of blogging, and comes through it looking very much like a nice, normal human being, and a credit to the Lib Dem candidature.

Best blog from a Liberal Democrat holding public office

Rick Baum is, IMHO, an overlooked star. Local blogs are one of things Lib Dems, as you might expect, do brilliantly. Rick is a fantastic example of the genre – affects to be in the business of creating cogent, well-written expositions of community politics in a northern town, but occasionally forgets this and is accidentally pant-wettingly funny instead. His humour, intelligence and – for want of a better word – humanity make him a great standard-bearer for elected Lib Demmery.

Best use of blogging or social networking by a Liberal Democrat

Hm. I’m going to have to pass this one. As an old-fashioned word-spouter I’m not entirely clear I have a view on what a successful “use” of blogging or social networking would look like. But I’m sure that, like any other boring ol’ rearguard early adopter, I’ll know it when I see it, so keep trying!

Best posting on a Liberal Democrat blog (since 1st September 2007)

Only one of my posts ever in the whole world anywhere made it onto Lib Dem Voice’s Golden Ton, and it was this one, where I basically wrote three lines saying what a fantastic post this was, and how everyone should go and read it. Seems fitting somehow. It’s funny now, looking back at how utterly nasty the leadership contest got in the blogosphere. But it wasn’t funny at the time, to a comparatively fresh-off-the-blocks blogger who  liked both candidates well enough and couldn’t understand why all these people were getting so damned upset. Alex Wilcock’s post administered a much-needed bucket of cold water in the face to both sides, and in so doing reassured me I hadn’t done entirely the wrong thing in the joining the party.

Best non-Liberal Democrat politics blog

Stumbling and Mumbling again. No question.

Liberal Democrat Blog of the Year

I’ve already described his virtues above, so there’s absolutely NO FLUFFY NEED to go through it all again. He might love the attention, but his daddy will be VERY embarrassed. There is only one Millennium Dome. (No, not THAT one!)

Tons More Fun Blog Awards

Well, this one I like. No categories, no restraints, no compulsory number of posts to nominate, and best of all, I don’t even have to leave the People’s Republic. Posts I would pick on that give me a certain tickle of quiet pride, even where they gave everyone else a certain tickle of click-back, are as follows:

How can we win back twat-in-a-blue-shirt-in-the-street? And do we care?

Terribly Boring III: bumper edition

In which I cling to Nick Clegg’s ankles and weep for justice

Should the Liberal Democrats be doing more to support the Vikings?

Stop the gentrification, I want to get off!

St Nadine the Martyr and the Hounds of Hell

Localism: where will it end (with fluffy bunny picture)

SB’s Very Prestigious (And Entirely Serious) [And Very Purple] Blog Awards

And now I are off over there to submit my nominations to the comment thread. Only thirteen minutes before I turn into a pumpkin…


  1. I would be tickled pink if Millennium wins Lib Dem Blog of the year, and he so absolutely deserves it, but I bet he won’t. Bloody PR.

    As for Chris Dillow? Mat loves him too. I can’t STAND him. I am sure he quite often IS right, but his writing style means I get a couple of sentences in and I just want to stab him, regardless of the point he is trying to make.

    * shrug *

    I suspect there’s lots of people have a similar reaction to me.

    Speaking of which

    * hug *

    You soppy old Republic. 😛 Thank you.

  2. … and a similar reaction to my posts, I meant, not that lots of people think the same as me about Chris Dillow. As far as I can tell, I am a lone voice of laothing as far as Chris is concerned.

  3. ME? Fabulously entertaining? ME? Coming from YOU? I feel all funny in my tummy now. I’m touched. Especially considering the competition – James Schneider is brilliant, and you have Ros Scott to go at for New as well.

    I would add My Year of Living Dangerously… myself, out of your posts that I’ve read. But then I suppose I’m a bit biased towards the point of view and subject matter therein, apt as I am to play the good old fashioned Working Class Hero card at times.

    Awww, isn’t the combination of Asquith swearing drunkenly and his blushing, innocent-looking gravatar just adorable?

    Jennie: re Chris Dillow – I wouldn’t go that far and I do read the posts, but the first words that come to mind when I look at Stumbling and Mumbling are “a bit snooty”. If he was on ElJay I think I would probably end up using my snarky “gee thanks for mansplaining this to us” icon rather a lot. re The Fluffy One – suspect you’re right. Why is there not a vote for the winners, from the shortlist? Hmph.

  4. Steph,

    I had actually been drinking when that photo was taken. That is the real story behind the red cheeks 🙂

    This is my favourite Chris Dillow post:

    Though, & I thought this when it came out, it has the wrong title, & the traits he deplores (while they are indeed twattish) are not limited to, or even associated with, the people he slags off.

    I put it through tinyurl so no one would know what the subject matter was. It might not go down well 🙂

  5. Asquith, I have seen that post before. Other people thought it was terribly amusing to link to it too. I think it just shows Dillow up for the patronising, insensitive, overbearing, holier-than-thou, self-righteous arsehole he is.

    * shrug *


    Steph: I think that the very reason there ISN’T a public vote for best blog is that they know Millennium would win hands down, and they think it would be embarrassing (rather than refreshing) for a cuddly toy to win best blogger of a “proper” political party.

  6. Awww, thanks Alix – I’m blushing.
    I will own up to being snooty, overbearing and insensitive, but not holier-than-thou. The title of my blog is intended to hint at the fact that my ideas are contingent and ironic, in the Rortyan sense. And I’ve quite often argued that anyone’s moral opinions are irrelevant.
    And as for that post of mine against women, it was intended to make a point, spelt out here:

  7. Chris,

    I agree that the attitudes you sent up deserve to be condemned, I just don’t associate them with women…

    On that note, you might be interested in an entry by our host, linked to in the above, which is Terribly Boring III: Bumper Edition. You seem like the sort who would be interested in it. Disappointingly, very few people have taken it up.

  8. Ignoring the caveat about it being very difficult to rank just ten out of hundreds of good reads, I am suitably flattered at being your “number 4”. But I’m beginning to think you must be that one IP address that dominates my Servstat statistics! Not that it’s particularly difficult to dominate them!


  9. Chris Dillow is, for me, the best blogger around by an absolute mile. I can never miss a post. It always informs, challenges, and is difficult. Nothing compares.

    Alix and Steph thanks very much for the props. “Effortlessly widely-read” is a major compliment, I think it might go in my CV (only joking, sort of).

  10. 1. Iain Dale
    2. Spiked Online
    3. Yourself (unsurprising)
    4. Conservative Home
    5. Hopi Sen

    I can’t think of many others. I agree with people like Devil’s Kitchen, Very British Dude, Letters From A Tory (yes, yes) sometimes. There are also some absolute cunts who would take pleasure from being included on such a list, and I’m not minded to put any happiness into their otherwise pathetic lives by naming them.

    I read most of them as a scratching post, except Dale, and a couple of people like Dizzy Thinks whose attitude is intolerable.

  11. I also dislike the tedious “libertarian” bloggers, and find it ironic that they claim to be free thinkers whilst following a grimly predictable party line on everything. And climate change “sceptics” bore me to death. But I keep away from the mediocre ones, which constitute a large majority of “libertarian” blogs, and read only the best ones, which I do agree with sometimes because they are genuine thinkers rather than ringlicking followers such as (you fill in this space).

  12. I have one particular blogger (not anyone of this parish) that I read every single day, because his/her writings routinely cause me to tear my hair out, headbutt the screen and listen to Napalm Death at volume 11. It’s very cathartic and also has the virtue of waking me up.

  13. I would name the blogger I hate most, but I don’t want him/her to get gratification out of it.

    I rate Ministry Of Truth very highly and, yes, Letters From A Tory. Alix, if you like Boris Watch you should acquaint yourself with The Tory Troll, who is a very strong blogger. And Bob Piper can’t be missed.

    Unfortunately, A Very British Dude has gone downhill since that wannabe Travelgall got promoted to a regular slot. He isn’t as clever as Jackart and doesn’t have half the writing ability, so I’ve stopped going there.

    I’ve also never liked Liberal England, and can’t really see how he attained such popularity. Fire away…

  14. You’re too kind, Asquith. Akehurst, Iain Dale (groan), Guido (double groan), Wardman Wire and Harry’s Place would make my list. And I share your dislike of libertarian bloggers, who tend to be anything but when they step outside their zero state/free market comfort zone.

    I still think you ought to take up the blogging cudgels, that’s if you can find the time.

  15. The comment I tried to write seems to have vanished, so you’ll have to make do with this…

    I forgot to mention Akehurst because I generally keep my distance from him. You are above him in that you’re not personally unpleasant, just someone whose views are spectacularly far removed from mine 🙂

    Quite possibly the worst thing I’ve ever come across is Spiked Online, because it’s just so samey and boring. Look at people’s profiles. If it says Spiked, RCP, Living Marxism, Institute of Ideas, Sense About Science or Manifesto Club, you know exactly what their views will be on any subject.

    Brendan O’Neill, Mick Hume, Frank Furedi, Jennie Bristowe, Nathalie Rothschild, Emily Hill, and the rest of that tedious bunch, all predictable twats.

  16. Hmmmmm where are you Alix? You’ve not written a new blog in ages!!

    I’m assuming that you’re very busy but there’s also the possibilty that you’re trapped under a log, desperately trying to reach a phone or a computer to cry for help, but dammit you just can’t reach.

    Well, take care.

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