blogging, Politics

Bloggery In The UK


The US blogging site Huffington Post has its detractors, and it’s not hard to see why, but in its defense it is at least a direct and often intelligent attempt to engage with issues; where the HuffPo certainly covers all the personal stories and media froth of modern politics, it is also true that its writers post about substantive concerns in by and large reasonable ways. HuffPo is avowedly partisan, but very rarely is it peurile.

To wit, and expanding on yesterday’s fracas, it is a little sad that the most prominent sites in UK political blogosphere seem so often take the lower road. The relatively sedate Conservative Home is widely recognised as a success, but Guido Fawkes (itself modelled after US blog The Drudge Report, HuffPo’s evil muck-raking twin) remains the most (in)famous political blog in the UK, and Staines sets the pace. Via Bob Piper, this post at Next Left is essential reading, and details why the Fawkes-led blogging style is bad for UK politics: where is the UK’s more reasonable (if partisan) counterbalance to its own Drudge?

Much is made in the blogging community – and particularly by the ‘social media consultants’ who are increasingly advising on matters bloggy – of the idea of ‘authenticity’, the notion that blogs can be successful only if their readers believe the blogger is going to play straight with them. Where, though, is the UK’s political blog which will play better? Surely this sort of tawdry stuff isn’t the approach for which the UK’s Web 2.0 politics wants mostly to be known?


6 thoughts on “Bloggery In The UK

  1. Su says:

    Well, that depends… If you want you political blogging to reveal the inner secrets of the main political parties, then, yeah, maybe you’re right. On the other hand, you can get that kind of crap from rabidly partisan political “journalists”. Wouldn’t British political blogging be better served by people writing about politics in the wider British context, taking the bigger picture view that’s inherently missing from Westminster insiders, who are too interested in their own position to look beyond the bubble? Surely British political blogging needs people with a more objective view, discussing the issues and their impact, not bloggers who are political insiders themselves. YMMV, of course.

  2. danhartland says:

    I think this is true: the sort of stuff turned out by Staines and Dale is rabidly obsessed with self and position. At the same time, why should a political blog matter without the input of people who are part of, or experts in, the process?

    This is not to say I will not start writing about politics again soon, of course. 😛

  3. Su says:

    A political blog “matters” by the same criteria as any other blog: if it has something interesting to say and people read it, it matters. Unless you think that “getting self-destructive fool fired” counts as “mattering”; I don’t.

    If I want to know what people who are part of the process have to say, I can go read Hansard. Your so-called “experts” already say far too much; we’d all benefit by Dale, Staines and their ilk drinking a big mug of STFU.

    Objective commentary, opinion based on principle not ambition, and a definitively outsider view – these are what British political blogging needs. Don’t you think?

  4. danhartland says:

    we’d all benefit by Dale, Staines and their ilk drinking a big mug of STFU.

    I wasn’t thinking of these types when I talked about experts (the HuffPo wouldn’t touch them), but here’s the closest they’ve got to a mug of STFU so far.

    But, yes, you’re right. Not that I said that.

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