Home > General Politics, Miscellaneous, Socialism > 2009: Blogging Year in Review

2009: Blogging Year in Review

First there was Total Politics and the top 300 bloggers of the year. Then there was Phil’s top 100 twitterers of the year. Then Paul Sagar at Bad Conscience ran a list of which bloggers are his favourites from this year.

Like Paul, I believe wholeheartedly in giving lots of other blogs fillips throughout the year by linking to them. So I figured I would run a selection of my own favourite blogs and bloggers, with examples of some of their sterling efforts throughout the year.

Paul Cotterill of the Bickerstaffe Record and Though Cowards Flinch has saved me the bother of trawling through his work to pick out a selection of his best stuff; he has submitted it to the Orwell Prize committee for consideration. I wish him all the best of luck. I hope Paul won’t take it amiss that despite all his hard work on theory my favourite article, which appears on his list, is the personal account of why he believes in fighting the BNP up north: it is an account worth more than all the drivel from Comment is Free this year.

Phil at A Very Public Sociologist regularly tops my list of favourites. Every event and most theoretical questions, Phil makes a stab at answering and does so with what I feel is an unerring ability to capture the mood and needs of the moment. From his stuff on the Lindsey Oil Refinery Strike, where he defended the workers on strike, to his multipart series on Lukacs, or addressing questions which, in an activist context, are central to the movement like nationalisation vs socialisation of industry.

Relative new boys on the blogging scene, the Third Estate features pretty high on my list. I don’t usually bother with the high profile interviews – though if that’s your thing, there’s plenty of great stuff, but the material from the bloggers themselves leaves little to be desired. On voting come the EU elections, reviews of this year’s activist events, on primaries, on the gender of bloggers, it’s all intelligent attempts to engage with key issues, even if one disagrees violently now and again.

Splintered Sunrise is another one of my favourites. It’s frankly amazing how amusing Splinty can be whilst being devastatingly accurate, and in command of so many facts right down. The Catholic Church, or the nature of Anglican politics, for example. Splintered Sunrise is also a first class read for reasoned judgments on the activities of the Socialist Workers’ Party and some of the weird things that seem to go on in that organisation. I wouldn’t say I agree with all of Splinty’s assumptions, but unquestionably there’s a sharp mind at work.

Paul Sagar at Bad Conscience has been good enough to list me in his “top bloggers of 2009” post, but despite this, he’d have merited a mention here anyway. Plenty of our posts address similar matters, such as right-wing attempts to co-opt Left history, the No Platform Policy/Question Time or the question of Swiss democracy and banning minarets. I like to think our posts can be read as prime socialist/left-liberal answers to the questions of the day, and how we interact in the subsequent discussions often serves to illuminate our shared values and differences.

Currently on my RSS feeder are twenty three individual bloggers or collections of bloggers – including the five above – who deserve to be mentioned as well: Chris Dillow, Susan Press, Louise Whittle, Ten Percent, Jack Graves, Left Outside, Lenin’s Tomb, Left Foot Forward, Socialist Unity, Liam MacUaid, Peter Kenyon, Dave Osler, TFSCS, Duncan, Sunder Katwala, Obsolete, Laurie Penny and Jim Jepps. This year they’ve all aided my blogging repertoire and have solidly continued to get news and analysis out to as many interested people as will listen.

In this mission we’ve been ably assisted by sites like Liberal Conspiracy, with its own expert bloggers and editors, and Enemies of Reason, with its unfailing focus on the nonsense spewed forth by the tabloids day after day, week after week. This is my thank you and well done to everyone. We’ve done well this year. We’ll do better next year. Just remember, a spectre is haunting the blogosphere…

  1. December 31, 2009 at 10:36 am

    Thanks for doing this. Thought about doing one myself but there’d have been a lot of overlap and (I’d have added Freethinking Economist, Duncan’s Economics Blog, Raincoatoptimism, and also Don P for continued policy insights)but you’ve been much more rigorous than my fairly scant blog reading would have allowed. I’d also have lamented the end of Vino S.

    I also thought about doing a ‘most overrated blog of 2009’ piece, but Ed Vaisey would have won by so far, and the rest so obvious, that it would have been a bit churlish.

  2. December 31, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Very kind of you. Keep up the good work!

  3. December 31, 2009 at 5:24 pm


  4. December 31, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    Cheers Dave. I’ll be writing something about the state of socialist blogging tomorrow – you beat me by one day!

  5. splinteredsunrise
    December 31, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    Thanks for the plug, TCF is a regular read for me. And there’s a lot of overlap in the blogs listed.

    Of course, RSS is your friend, and I find it helps to regularly scan a good wide variety of sources. As good as Lenin’s Tomb is, if I was just reading that I’d only condemn myself to producing a poor man’s version of Lenin’s Tomb. And what would be the fun in that?

    Keep up the good work, as they used to say on the Militant letters page.

  6. January 2, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    Cheers for the pug blograde, you’re in my RSS too and I hope there’s no prospect of you stopping in 2010. It’s to be the year of the left blogosphere and that means you!

  7. January 5, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Oh you big flatterer you!

  1. January 9, 2010 at 9:15 am

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