Wednesday, 31 December 2008

QT's Festive 50: The Final Countdown

Here's the full countdown of QT's 'Festive 50' Top 50 blogs...

50 If Sam Tarran Were In Charge
49 Clairwil
48 TheFatBigot Opines
47 Jon Worth's Euroblog
46 Shiraz Socialist
45 The Tin Drummer
44 A Very Public Sociologist
43 Tom Harris MP
42 Blogzilla
41 Lancaster Unity
40 The Broadsheet Rag
39 Letters From A Tory
38 Craig Murray
37 Hagley Road To Ladywood
36 The Appalling Strangeness
35 The Daily (Maybe)
34 Labour & Capital
33 5 Chinese Crackers
32 PJC Journal
31 NHS Blog Doctor
30 The Landed Underclass
29 An Englishman's Castle
28 Mark Wadsworth
27 Adam Smith Institute Blog
26 Nosemonkey's EUTopia
25 Mr Eugenides
24 Iain Dale's Diary
23 Bob's Head Revisited
22 Burning Our Money
21 Ministry of Truth
20 Samizdata
19 Spy Blog
18 Enemies of Reason
17 Dave's Part
16 Ambush Predator
15 Boatang & Demetriou
14 Guido Fawkes
13 Stumbling & Mumbling
12 Longrider
11 EU Referendum
10 Old Holborn
9 Charlotte Gore
8 UK Libertarian Party Blog
7 Tim Worstall
6 Obsolete
5 To Miss With Love
4 Political Betting
3 Underdogs Bite Upwards
2 Liberal Conspiracy
1 The Devil's Kitchen

QT's Festive 50: #2 & #1

2. LIBERAL CONSPIRACY (23)




Liberal Conspiracy was set up in November 2007, with a stated aim of 'bringing together and re-invigorating the liberal-left in Britain through discussion and campaigning. In the former, it has undoubtedly succeeded; Liberal Conspiracy made it so high in this countdown because the whole is greater than the parts, and the parts are a roll-call of the left's best bloggers, including SepticIsle, Chris Dillow, Dave Osler, and Sunny Hundal who also edits the blog. As for the latter - we'll have to wait and see... Liberal Conspiracy features some good, robust comments thread debates, and minimal moderation of comments. The daily netcast and newsreel provide another reason - as if more were needed - to visit 'LibCon' every day.

Read Andrew Hickey - 'Why I am not a Libertarian'


1. THE DEVIL'S KITCHEN (6)





The Devil's Kitchen is, for anyone who has somehow remained unaware of it, a libertarian blog run by the eponymous DK. It is the original swear-blog, DK having begun venting his rage here just under four years ago. Although the fire and fury on display here in the first couple of years has been sanitised somewhat, it's still written with a genuine passion. As well as DK's trademark ranting, The Devil's Kitchen features guest posts from a variety of other writers, not all of whom share DK's consequentialist libertarian worldview - occasionally leading to some vituperative comments, which are never moderated. The Devil's Kitchen was the greatest inspiration for my decision to begin blogging, and remained such throughout the time Question That was online. As such, putting this blog at the head of my top 50 was an easy decision.

Read The Devil's Kitchen - 'Oh yeah? How, exactly?'

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

QT's Festive 50: #4 & #3

4. POLITICAL BETTING (5)




Political Betting proclaims that it is Britain's most-read political blog. It may seem like a niche interest - gambling on political outcomes - but over more than 5 years Political Betting has grown to be one of the most highly-regarded blogs around, thanks to the insightful and unbiased commentary provided by its writers Mike Smithson, Morus and Double Carpet on Parliamentary politics and referenda in the UK, USA and elsewhere. In addition, the lively community of regular contributors to discussions is very much a part of the attraction of the site, as recent 'poster of the year' awards acknowledged.

Read Morus - 'Is the PM a True Gambler?'


3. UNDERDOGS BITE UPWARDS (N/A)




Underdogs Bite Upwards is a libertarian blog authored by the pseudonymous Leg-iron. Suffice to say I am hugely impressed with the standard of polemical writing on show here; such that I rate Underdogs Bite Upwards as my current favourite of all single-author blogs. Unusually, it is located on the LiveJournal platform - generally not an indicator of a great blog. I love the name, though, the overall presentation, and especially posts such as the rant I've highlighted below - my pick for Blog Post of the Year 2008.

Read Leg-Iron - 'How Weak Have We Become?'

BONUS: Read Leg-Iron at Old Holborn's - 'The Children Aren't Thinking Of You'

Sunday, 28 December 2008

QT's Festive 50: #6 & #5

6. OBSOLETE (60)




Obsolete is a centre-left blog run by the pseudonymous SepticIsle, who has been providing insightful, in-depth, high-quality commentary on a variety of topics here since summer 2005. This blog has only quite recently begun attracting the attention it deserves. Since I discovered this blog two years ago, I have regarded its author as the single best centre-left writer in the British blogosphere. Long may 'Obsolete' stay relevant!

Read SepticIsle - 'Eady Lays Down The Law'


5. TO MISS WITH LOVE (123)




To Miss With Love is the blog of Miss Snuffleupagus (Snuffy), a black teacher in an inner-city school in London. The stories she tells of her struggles with clueless fellow teachers, idiotic parents, political correctness and of course her pupils make this hands down the most absorbing (and at times rage-inducing) 'work blog' there is. If any blogger in Britain merits a book deal, it is Miss Snuffleupagus. This is simply essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the state that secondary education in the UK is in.

Read Miss Snuffleupagus - 'Hanging My Head'

QT's Festive 50: #8 & #7

8. UK LIBERTARIAN PARTY (62)




The UK Libertarian Party blog is the blog of the newly formed political party of the same name, and several of the party's active members post there, including most interestingly the party treasurer Patrick Vessey. Vessey's emphasis on the global economy, corporations and bankers perhaps seemed esoteric 6 months ago - not any more, and now it's the LPUK blog that is in tune with the times. Here you'll find some of the best commentary on the economic situation from a libertarian perspective this side of the Atlantic.

Read Patrick Vessey - 'Let 'Em Burn: Redux'


7. TIM WORSTALL (12)




Tim Worstall has been blogging in one form or another since spring 2004, making him the longest-standing blogger on this list. At the blog that bears his name, he prolificly writes characteristically brief posts in which he often acerbically comments on matters reported in the media and on other websites. In particular, he regularly targets the woolly thinking of columnists including Polly Toynbee and George Monbiot. Tim writes at more length for other outlets, including the Adam Smith Institute and Spectator.

Read Tim Worstall - 'Yes, It's Richard Murphy!'

Saturday, 27 December 2008

QT's Festive 50: #10 & #9

10. OLD HOLBORN (150)




Old Holborn only started blogging in January, started slowly, but by mid-November was attracting over 1,000 readers a day to his blog. The keyboardist and his occasional guests write the sweariest of the swear-blogs, are thoroughly disdainful of politicians and other criminals, and promise even bigger things in 2009. I'm expecting Old Holborn, if he continues in the vein of the past few months, to be one of the biggest names in British blogging by the end of next year (if he doesn't get arrested first).

Read Old Holborn - 'The Diary of Old Holborn, July 7th 2011'


9. CHARLOTTE GORE (N/A)




Charlotte Gore is a libertarian and member of the Liberal Democrats. She also writes some of the most interesting posts on any blog around. Charlotte is one of the bloggers whose posts I find myself nodding my head in agreement with the most - some of the thoughts expressed here strongly echo some of my own 'political philosophy'-oriented musings. When there is disagreement on this blog, as with some of the more left-leaning Lib Dems who comment, some fascinating discussions arise.

Read Charlotte Gore - 'The Big Family'

Friday, 26 December 2008

QT's Festive 50: #12 & #11

12. LONGRIDER (N/A)




Longrider* is another underappreciated blog. Its pseudonymous author has firm libertarian convictions and writes some great polemic, though he is not a swearblogger. Particularly strong on civil liberties issues, Longrider was one of those writers that, through their blogs, inspired me to begin blogging.

Read Longrider - 'Snitch Britain - Part XXX'


11. EU REFERENDUM (11)




EU Referendum is, as the name suggests, a blog dedicated to following European issues from an EU-sceptic perspective. It is authored by researchers Helen Szamuely and Richard North, and in its sphere is one of the most authoritative British political blogs.

Read Richard North - 'Vintage Booker'

QT's Festive 50: #14 & #13

14. GUIDO FAWKES (1)




Guido Fawkes is almost certainly Britain's best-known blog. The pseudonymous 'Guido' began blogging in September 2004, and since then has been a constant thorn in the side of the establishment and of leftists. Love or loathe the author's no holds barred approach to reporting the latest hot gossip, no list of top British political blogs would be complete without it.

Read Guido Fawkes - 'The Sith Suffered a Grave Defeat Yesterday'


13. STUMBLING & MUMBLING (20)




Stumbling & Mumbling is a uniquely intriguing blog. Chris Dillow, its author, asks the kind of questions that few others would think of - then brings his knowledge of economics, sociology and psychology to bear in consideration of possible approaches to answering said questions. Dillow's posts are readable, brief and often humorous, and the ensuing discussions can be very good. Discussions that begin here have been known to move across to other blogs, with several other thinkers having their say.

Read Chris Dillow - 'Two Libertarianisms'

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

QT's Festive 50: Rundown 32-15

Here's the second of three part rundowns of the countdown so far...

32 PJC Journal
31 NHS Blog Doctor
30 The Landed Underclass
29 An Englishman's Castle
28 Mark Wadsworth
27 Adam Smith Institute Blog
26 Nosemonkey's EUTopia
25 Mr Eugenides
24 Iain Dale's Diary
23 Bob's Head Revisited
22 Burning Our Money
21 Ministry of Truth
20 Samizdata
19 Spy Blog
18 Enemies of Reason
17 Dave's Part
16 Ambush Predator
15 Boatang & Demetriou

The first part of the countdown can be found here.

QT's Festive 50: #16 & #15

16. AMBUSH PREDATOR (N/A)




Ambush Predator is one of a select few blogs of female authorship in this list. Its a straight-talking blog - JuliaM "bites fools and left wingers", as promised in her profile, and passes acerbic comment on examples of idiocy and illiberality from across the country.

Read JuliaM - '"This, right here, is why we can't have nice things"'


15. BOATANG & DEMETRIOU (N/A)




Boatang & Demetriou is a highly under-rated blog, written by two libertarians: Kevin Boatang and John Demetriou. Both are highly opinionated and write interesting and thought-provoking posts about the economy, the media and political events; such as that highlighted below. Disagreement has led to some in-depth discussions over there and on here.

Read John Demetriou - 'Britain, War, Socialism, Selfishness & Libertarian Considerations'

QT's Festive 50: #18 & #17

18. ENEMIES OF REASON (146)




Enemies of Reason began just over a year ago. Since then, Anton Vowl's page has become Britain's premier mainstream media watching blog. With a strong centre-left line, the posts combine opinionated commentary with discussions of the veracity or otherwise of the contents of the Sun, Mail, Express etc. One of the most entertaining left-wing blogs as well as fulfilling its niche exceptionally well

Read Anton Vowl - 'Russell Brand v the Daily Mail: Don't make me choose between you!'


17. DAVE'S PART (35)




Dave's Part is a cut above the average socialist blog, thanks to the engaging writing of its author Dave Osler. Unusually, it gives the impression of having been written with an open mind and for a general audience, rather than a small clique of like-minded souls - hence posts like the one highlighted below. If you want to gain some understanding of what goes on to the left of Labour, you could do a lot worse than to put Dave's Part in your feed-reader.

Read Dave Osler - 'Why Can't the Left Do Populism?'

QT's Festive 50: #20 & #19

20. SAMIZDATA (40)




Samizdata is a well-established libertarian group blog. It is a real stalwart of British political blogging, that has forged a unique identity based on core principles - many of which are shared with US Libertarians. It has its own community of contributors and commenters that exists apart from all of the other libertarian blogs mentioned in this list. Posts cover affairs in the UK, Europe and North America, philosophy and literature. Some very high-quality writing is featured here, and though discussions are typically dominated by one viewpoint they are often worth reading.

Read Adriana Lukas - 'House of Terror'


19. SPY BLOG (134)




Spy Blog is the UK domestic civil liberties blog. It is simply essential reading for anyone concerned about over-reaching state power, civil liberties and the database state. In addition to the always well-researched, comprehensive posts themselves, Spy Blog also features links to a host of valuable resources.

Read Spy Blog - 'Communications Data Retention - internet access, internet e-mail and internet telephony'

QT's Festive 50: #20 & #19

20. SAMIZDATA (40)




Samizdata is a well-established libertarian group blog. It is a real stalwart of British political blogging, that has forged a unique identity based on core principles - many of which are shared with US Libertarians. It has its own community of contributors and commenters that exists apart from all of the other libertarian blogs mentioned in this list. Posts cover affairs in the UK, Europe and North America, philosophy and literature. Some very high-quality writing is featured here, and though discussions are typically dominated by one viewpoint they are often worth reading anyway.

Read Adriana Lukas - 'House of Terror'


19. SPY BLOG (134)




Spy Blog is the UK domestic civil liberties blog. It is simply essential reading for anyone concerned about over-reaching state power, civil liberties and the database state. In addition to the always well-researched, comprehensive posts themselves, Spy Blog also features links to a host of valuable resources.

Read Spy Blog - 'Communications Data Retention - internet access, internet e-mail and internet telephony'

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

QT's Festive 50: #22 & #21

22. BURNING OUR MONEY (8)




Burning Our Money is the blog of the pseudonymous Wat Tyler, who has been on the case of Government waste and inefficiency for almost four years. In that time it has become one of the most highly regarded of all the independent UK political blogs, thanks to detailed, usually number-filled posts describing misuses of taxpayers' money and financial mismanagement.

Read Wat Tyler - 'The Staff Room Dumbs Down'


21. MINISTRY OF TRUTH (32)




Ministry of Truth is also a blog by a single, pseudonymous author (Unity) which has become enormously well-respected thanks to the thoroughness and strength of argument displayed with each and every post. Unity focuses on a variety of Government policy, media presentation of social issues, science and religion, and stories involving politicians. Each post is written very well, and Ministry of Truth is noted for the length of the posts featured there - some are more like essays. On the basis of his output, Unity must be one of the most likely bloggers to become a professional political commentator in the future.

Read Unity - 'The Purloined Policy'

Monday, 22 December 2008

QT's Festive 50: #24 & #23

24. IAIN DALE'S DIARY (2)




Iain Dale's Diary is of course one of the two blogs that people outside of the blogging community are most likely to have heard of. Although Dale is not an MP, nor is he a councillor, he is one of the Conservative Party's most famous names thanks to this blog, which has been running for an amazing five years. It combines Westminster gossip, political opinion, and also lots of 'blogging about blogging' at a prolific rate.

Read Iain Dale - 'Reflections on Barack Obama'


23. BOB'S HEAD REVISITED (N/A)




Bob's Head Revisited, as well as having one of the best names of any blog in this list, is also one of the most promising new blogs I have started reading this year. 'Bob' began posting, and soon began attracting attention with some really thoughtful, well-argued and well-set-out posts such as the one highlighted below.

Read Bob's Head Revisited - 'Idealism, Equality and Power'

Friday, 19 December 2008

QT's Festive 50: #26 & #25

26. NOSEMONKEY'S EUTOPIA (155)




Nosemonkey's EUTopia (formerly Europhobia) is a blog focusing on the EU that is distinguished by the fact that its author, although pro-EU, tries hard to be relatively politically neutral. It almost always avoids being dull despite the unappealling nature to the casual reader of some of the topics discussed. The pseudonymous author is interested in European history and culture as well as politics, enhancing the interest of this blog to a wide readership. When a European issue catches my attention, as in the circumstances surrounding the highlighted post, this is always one of the first blogs I take a look at.

Read Nosemonkey - 'The Lisbon Treaty is Dead'


25. MR EUGENIDES (16)




Mr Eugenides is a long-running swear-blog, which began in October 2005. Mr E focuses his ire largely on Government, officials and bureaucrats, and the blog consists of a combination of ranting and humour - often both in the same post while at the same time bringing serious issues to the reader's attention. Once in a while Mr E comes up with an absolute peach of a post that ought to be mailed to every household in the UK, such as that highlighted below.

Read Mr Eugenides - 'Just Give Us Your Money and Shut Up'

QT's Festive 50: #28 & #27

28. MARK WADSWORTH (101)




Mark Wadsworth is a UKIP member who has been blogging since July 2007. He is an accountant and writes informed and well-argued posts on the subjects of tax - he is a strong advocate of a Land Value Tax - the economy, and the EU. His mostly serious posts are interspersed with some excellent drawings of political figures.

Read Mark Wadsworth - 'Personal Carbon Allowance'


27. THE ADAM SMITH INSTITUTE BLOG (27)




Adam Smith Institute Blog is, as you may have guessed, the blog of the free-market think tank of the same name. It is a group blog with a long list of contributors including the Director of the Institute, author of the highlighted post. At the ASI Blog, you can typically expect posts attacking Keynesianism and 'big government' and backing tax cuts and free trade. The daily 'Blog Review' is a real resource for the blogger, uncovering gems that other blogrounds miss.

Read Dr Eamonn Butler - 'The Fall of Sterling'

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Top 50 Will Continue

I've been away from the blog for a few days because of a combination of other commitments and a cold that won't go away, but I have completed the Top 50 and they will all be posted by the end of the year!

Monday, 15 December 2008

QT's Festive 50: #30 & #29

30. THE LANDED UNDERCLASS (N/A)




Read landedunderclass - 'A Cynic, Minister, Is What An Idealist Calls A Realist'


29. AN ENGLISHMAN'S CASTLE (95)




Read The Englishman - 'David Davis - Eccentric, Just What The Country Needs'


The Landed Underclass
and An Englishman's Castle are two blogs that share one distinctive feature in common; hence I am discussing them together despite the wide disparity in the blogs' ages. Both are written by libertarians who specialise in prolific posting in the form of brief and often witty comment on a variety of issues and events. Preferred targets do differ: The Landed Underclass keeps his eye on threats to civil liberties, while The Englishman focuses more often on the activities of environmentalists and authoritarian killjoys. Both of these blogs frequently pick up on stories that go under the radar of other bloggers. They're worth checking out fairly regularly, since there's almost always something new to read there!

Sunday, 14 December 2008

QT's Festive 50: #32 & #31

32. PJC JOURNAL (N/A)




PJC Journal is the blog of current Libertarian Party UK leader Ian Parker-Joseph. Through PJC Journal, he maintains a sharp focus on the people and organisations 'behind the curtain' - and not just the obvious ones. IanPJ asks questions like few others, and the postings here are almost always interesting and thought-provoking.

Read IanPJ - 'Was Brown forced to use terror laws to secure Icelandic banks?'


31. NHS BLOG DOCTOR (102)




NHS Blog Doctor is the first of two 'work blogs' to feature in this list. It is the well-regarded and popular blog of a GP who goes by the nom de plume Dr Crippen. The blog is not strictly political, but posts such as that highlighted below - as well as the author's insights into the modern NHS and his views on the directions it is taking - justify its inclusion in this list of political blogs.

Read Dr Crippen - 'The Politics of Envy'

QT's Festive 50: Rundown 50-33

We're slightly over a third of the way through the countdown of the Top 50 current British political blogs as chosen by, er, me. Here's a quick rundown of the blogs that have featured so far...

50 If Sam Tarran Were In Charge
49 Clairwil
48 TheFatBigot Opines
47 Jon Worth's Euroblog
46 Shiraz Socialist
45 The Tin Drummer
44 A Very Public Sociologist
43 Tom Harris MP
42 Blogzilla
41 Lancaster Unity
40 The Broadsheet Rag
39 Letters From A Tory
38 Craig Murray
37 Hagley Road To Ladywood
36 The Appalling Strangeness
35 The Daily (Maybe)
34 Labour & Capital
33 5 Chinese Crackers

Saturday, 13 December 2008

QT's Festive 50: #34 & #33

34. LABOUR AND CAPITAL (166)




Labour & Capital is a left-blog with a difference: Its author reads the financial pages. Most of the posts concern goings on in the banking and the economy. Particularly when the world economy is in its present state of instability (see the highlighted post), such a consistently readable articulation of a left-wing perspective is so valuable that once again I'm surprised by L&C's obscurity. Don't be put off by the blog's name - Tom P is a moderate and very much willing to entertain opposing viewpoints; for instance, he posted an interview with Nick Drew (of business blog Capitalists@Work*). He also regularly takes part in comments-thread discussions. Right or left, if you're a blogger interested in economics you're missing out if you don't read Labour & Capital.

Read Tom P - 'What Have We Learnt?'


33. FIVE CHINESE CRACKERS (154)




Five Chinese Crackers is one of two standouts from a group of blogs which scrutinises the UK mainstream media, particularly the tabloids. What marks this blog out (apart from its odd name) is its forensic approach to investigating the truth behind the headlines that appear in the Sun, Daily Mail, Daily Express etc. This is one of the roles that blogs are ideally placed for, and 5cc has taken it up with panache.

Read 5cc - 'The Truth About Knife Crime?'


* Business blogs, such as Capitalists@Work and Bearwatch, and media blogs (blogs written under the banner of a mainstream media outlet, such as Ben Brogan's, Robert Peston's, the Independent LJ blogs and the Spectator Coffee House group blog) are not included in this list.

QT's Festive 50: #36 & #35

36. THE APPALLING STRANGENESS (N/A)




The Appalling Strangeness, named for a quote from 'Brighton Rock', is a blog that has been running since March 2006. As such, it is one of the longest-established blogs of the right-wing 'sphere. It has two contributors, one of whom goes by the psuedonym 'The Moai'. The other has been through at least three names: The Nameless Tory; The Nameless One; and lately The Nameless Libertarian - which gives some indication of the directions this blog has taken over its two-and-a-half year existence. One would think that a blog producing consistently good output for that long would be widely recognised, but it doesn't appear to be so. Long may the 'Strangeness' continue.

Read The Nameless Libertarian - 'Plane Stupid? Yep.'


35. THE DAILY (MAYBE) (83)




The Daily (Maybe) is the blog of Jim Jay, a member of the Green Party. Although many of my readers will perhaps find more to get heated up about here than any other blog on this list, I hope you'll agree that TD(M) is a cut above the average environmentalist blog. For one thing, it has the unusual ingredient of levity; beginning with the name and continuing with the content, Jim Jay certainly doesn't live down to the over-earnest, misanthropic green stereotype. Posts are written and illustrated in a way that often raises a smile. Finally, Jim Jay is not afraid to criticise his fellow leftists, as the highlighted post exemplifies.

Read Jim Jay - 'The NObama Left'

Thursday, 11 December 2008

OH MY GOD THEY DO

Spotted on CiF, in response to this rather alarming article:

@Polly

This is a joke isn't it?

Tell me you're joking.

You are joking, aren't you?

Each week, you give us a comical pretend insight into the thinking of the 'inner circle' which you sort of inhabit through your well placed connections.

But it's just a bit of tongue in cheek stuff, isn't it? Your friends in high places don't really agree with this stuff...

...don't they?

OH MY GOD THEY DO.

WELL THAT F***ING EXPLAINS IT ALL, DOESN'T IT?



UPDATE (20:50): The CiF mods have deleted the comment now. Oh well - it's saved for posterity on here.

QT's Festive 50: #38 & #37

38. CRAIG MURRAY (145)




Craig Murray, unlike most of the other people featured on this list, is not best-known as a blogger. Instead, as a former British ambassador to Uzbekistan he has a unique, informed perspective on civil liberties here and abroad. Murray is seldom far from controversy, and seldom dull. Legal threats in 2007 led to the marshalling of over 300 bloggers in defence of freedom of speech. Later the same year, an ultimately successful campaign set in motion by Murray to save a political dissident from deportation to Uzbekistan (see the post highlighted below). However, despite all these good reasons to read Craig Murray regularly, his blog appears on few blogrolls.

Read Craig Murray - 'A Low Point'


37. HAGLEY ROAD TO LADYWOOD (N/A)




Hagley Road To Ladywood is a blog that has undergone a transformation. This Birmingham-based group blog has been running since 2005, but can almost be considered to be a brand-new entity as since August the posting rate has increased dramatically - and certainly not at the expense of quality. These are mini-essays on a wide range of topics; not just politics but film, music, and books too. Hagley Road To Ladywood is the liberal-left blogosphere's best kept secret. Put a bit of Brum in your blogroll!

Read Claude - 'People of Britain, Perform Your National Duty'

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

QT's Festive 50: #40 & #39

40. THE BROADSHEET RAG (N/A)




The Broadsheet Rag is a libertarian blog, like several others in this countdown. What marks this blog out, though, is its lightness of touch. Where TBRRob's fellows rant and rave and raise the blood pressure of the reader, The Broadsheet Rag often raises a smile through posts like that highlighted below, and his frequently highly amusing 'Goon of the week' series. In a 'sphere in which many take themselves and their opinions rather too seriously, a blog like The Broadsheet Rag is a breath of fresh air. For being such, while remaining a political blog (rather than a satirical one), TBR earns its place on this list.

Read TBRRob - 'MALINTENT - Big Brother is an idiot'


39. LETTERS FROM A TORY (36)




Letters From A Tory is, and has been recognised as, one of the best blogs to have begun in 2008. Its pseudonymous author has an unusual style - that of writing most of his posts as though they are letters to their subjects - that in his hands really works and leads to some highly readable blogging. As well as some good posts, LFaT is also home to some of the best comments threads of any Conservative blog - some real discussions in which A. Tory himself typically takes part. Letters From A Tory should be the one of the first blogs listed in the Conservative section of any British political blogroll.

Read A. Tory - 'Putting People in Prison Breaches Their Human Rights, Apparently'

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

QT's Festive 50: #42 & #41

42. BLOGZILLA (N/A)




Blogzilla is the blog of Oxford research fellow, Internet expert, and former Privacy International director Dr Ian Brown. He writes excellent insightful and factual posts on civil liberties and online privacy, yet somehow his blog languishes in obscurity. Blogzilla seldom receives comments, appears on few blogrolls and did not appear on the Total Politics list. Some of this may be to do with the sometimes sporadic posting (though this is not surprising given the author's many other commitments). The blog's bizarre branding may also go some way to explaining its continuing obscurity. Its name is odd and gives no indication of the quality and type of content to be expected; its web address is even odder. Still, Blogzilla deserves a place on any civil libertarian's blogroll.

Read Ian Brown - 'Biometrics Are Not A Panacea For Data Loss'


41. LANCASTER UNITY (N/A)




Lancaster Unity (formerly Lancaster UAF) is the foremost of several blogs which have taken on the admirable role of opposing the far-right in the UK. Although the name suggests a certain localism, the author(s) of Lancaster Unity in fact focus their attention on the BNP and similar groups wherever in the country they may be active; for instance, the blog featured a strong series of posts in the run-up to the GLA elections in London. For the rightness of its cause and the tenacity with which it pursues it, Lancaster Unity has certainly earned its place on this list.

Read Antifascist - 'Colin Auty's BNP Leadership Challenge Collapses...'

CiF Comment Of The Day

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/dec/09/climate-change-science-environment?commentid=807a3cec-d5d1-4461-bde8-26c2b7d8e2a3

Monday, 8 December 2008

QT's Festive 50: #44 & #43

44. A VERY PUBLIC SOCIOLOGIST (57)




A Very Public Sociologist is a blog that is as described. It is written primarily by Phil BC, a Marxist studying for a PhD in sociology. He is also a member of the Socialist Party, but between his studies and party activities he finds the time to write a mini-essay of a blog post about every other day. As you might expect, Phil has an unconventional perspective, but is blessed with a real talent for making writings about the most arcane topics a pleasant and accessible read.

Read Phil BC - 'SP and SWP Debate the Revolutionary Party'


43. TOM HARRIS MP (13)




Tom Harris MP's blog came in at #13 in the Total Politics list. The post I highlight below brought the blog to the attention of the national media in June, and doubtless attracted a whole new readership to the then Transport Minister's writings. Harris is no longer a minister, which going by the prolific rate of posting has given him even more time to spend with his blog. Perhaps unexpectedly, given MP blogs' usual reputation for being stuffy and exceptionally guarded, the blog of Tom Harris MP is a pleasant and refreshing read. Partisan, yes, but never dull - Harris is easily the best blogger in the House of Commons today.

Read Tom Harris MP - 'Heaven Knows We're Miserable Now'


Note: The numbers in brackets after the blog name indicate the blog's position in the 2008 Total Politics Top 200.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

QT's Festive 50: #46 & #45

46. SHIRAZ SOCIALIST (N/A)




Shiraz Socialist is a far-left group blog with three strong contributors: Voltaire's Priest, Jim Denham and Max Dunbar. The latter in particular has a strong line on civil liberties, and in general there is a much higher 'sensible quotient' here than on many other blogs of comparable politics. What makes Shiraz Socialist an essential read for anyone interested in the British far-left is its perspective on the much-mocked sectarianism of the various socialist and communist parties - i.e. interested without becoming embroiled in the mud-throwing that makes some other socialist blogs such tedious reads. Shiraz Socialist also deserves praise for maintaining its free & open comments policy despite some persistent troublemakers.

Read Voltaire's Priest - 'Hot Air and Brickbats'


45. THE TIN DRUMMER (N/A)




The Tin Drummer really deserves a wider audience, and what's more it's not entirely clear why he doesn't have it. TD doesn't tend to rant and rave, and posts on topics other than politics once in a while. However, he has a strong line on liberties and a cynical and watchful eye for the power play; so its quite surprising that this blog doesn't seem to have become part of the 'bloggertarian club'. It is through Blogpower that I discovered it, and I'm glad I did.

Read The Tin Drummer - 'Government's Power Grab (part n)'

Saturday, 6 December 2008

QT's Festive 50: #48 & #47

48. THE FAT BIGOT OPINES (N/A)




TheFatBigot Opines is one of the newest blogs in this list, having begun 'opining' in June this year. Here, perhaps unexpectedly, you will find intelligent, thoughtful writing on current affairs from a centre-right perspective written by a former barrister who for some unfathomable reason has burdened his blog with a truly dreadful pseudonym. The sooner he changes it the better, but regardless this writing deserves its place in this list.

Read TheFatBigot - 'Let's Stop Managing The Managers'


47. JON WORTH'S EUROBLOG (N/A)




Jon Worth, as an EU-federalist, social democratic Labour party member, is not perhaps the most obvious of candidates for inclusion in QT's Festive 50. However, Worth is - if you'll pardon the pun - among the most worthy of opponents. When it comes to understanding the perspective at the opposite pole to the Euro-sceptic bloggers that can be found at the core of many blogrolls, Jon Worth's Euroblog is invaluable - yet his readership is rather lower than other far inferior blogs of similar politics! Whether you be pro- or anti-, if you are interested in the politics of the EU then Jon Worth should be one of the first names on your Blogroll.

Read Jon Worth - 'Irish vote No - some calm respect please'