Dave Osler’s blog seems to be going from strength to strength. Recently highlighted by Channel 4’s web-page as one of the 20 most influential political blogs in Britain, and selected as #8 of pro-Labour (in the wider sense?) by Top Tory Blogger, Iain Dale.
Naturally all of us who blog are secretly motivated – at least partially - by vanity, so Dave naturally posted a piece about this on his blog, where he makes the following point: “Not bad going for six months’ work. Readership figures are picking up, boosted by the brilliant redesign courtesy of Will. And a few of the more leftist national newspaper journos and Westminster researchers are starting to email goss in to firstname.lastname@example.org.But wouldn’t it be good to have a far left website that has the same sort of clout as Guido and Dale do on the right? For that, I need more inside track stuff. My hero Paul Foot always used to include an appeal to readers for information in his classic Daily Mirror columns. I’d love to continue that tradition.”
So obviously it would be good if people took Dave up on this, and helped him develop his blog in that direction. But why is there no really good left blog? This seems to me partly a reflection of how marginal the left is on British politics. There is also the widespread use of printed media by the political left that make some blogging redundant, it has occurred to me for a while that you could produce a very good blog just by reading the Morning Star! But the left has also developed a culture of privacy, for example all sorts of interesting information comes our way in the Socialist Unity Network on the basis that it is kept confidential.
Dave is running a poll on his site on what is the “second best leftwing blog in Britain”. When you look down the list of Dave’s candidates, well you cannot help think, yeah, but is that the best we can do?
Stroppyblog has become popular very fast. Not surprising as it is updated regularly, is informal and occasionally very funny. There are also some serious well researched pieces.
The General Theory of Rubbish is a bit terse and cryptic. Although well designed and regularly updated, it is a bit too idiosyncratic for my liking.
Shiraz Socialist. Seems to be mainly reaction pieces, from an AWL type perspective, to stuff going on. Well, if you like that sort of thing. … …
JBlog is a rather more serious effort from Janine Booth, also of the AWL. Well worth a regular look.
Gauche There is a lot of chaff, but some good wheat amongst it. Particularly useful is the archive links, allowing you to jump directly to the best posts from the past, organised by subject.
Random Pottins really is a great blog. Informative, and covering a diverse range of subjects. Particularly astute when covering Israel, Palestine and Zionism.
Normblog. Many years ago Norman Geras wrote a well received book about Marx and human nature. I could never be bothered to read it. He has developed an immensely self-satisfied bloated ego. The main point of the blog seems to be to eruditely explain that we are all stupid for opposing US foreign policy. Oh, and to remind us how immensely clever Professor Geras is.
Harry’s Place. Ahh bless. Imagine Norman Geras bitten by a rabid Dog. Harry’s place is home of “decency”. In the old days decency used to mean, well, being decent. Nowadays it means support for neo-colonialism, islamaphobia, and vitriolic distain for the hard left. The most remarkable thing about Harry’s place is the comments, where racist comments are not criticised, but leftist comments critical of the Harry team are sometimes altered. A shrill, nasty experience, best avoided.
Lenin’s Tomb. The unofficial official SWP blog. Written by verbose twenty somethings full of outrage at the world, and an uncomplicated faith that there are goodies and baddies. Actually this is its strength, and the Tomb is guaranteed to be entertaining, informative and committed. “Lenin” himself rather remarkably rejects the Marxist method, arguing that there is no underlying objective reality, and all that really exists is language. (This presumably makes it easier for him to support Tommy Sheridan). Worth checking occasionally, but the comments can become depressingly sectarian.
Dead Men Left. Another good SWP blog, but updated less frequently than Lenin’s Tomb, and a little more measured. Worth looking at regularly.
Drink Soaked Trots. If you like the General Theory of Rubbish, you will like this collective blog. Much too much space spent slagging of the left for my liking.
Socialist Unity Blog. Sister to the Socialist Unity Network site. The origin of our main website was that we felt there was a gap in the market for a left wing publication that promoted a serious discussion about the way forward for the left, that was not banging the drum for any particular organisation, and was open to different voices. The Socialist Unity Blog was started as a way of being a bit more interactive, and also a place for some more quirky pieces. If you like the blog, you should regularly check the web-site as well.
It is worth saying there are some other good leftie blogs from this island, and had I been doing a poll instead of Osler these might have made the cut: International Rooksbyism, Daily (Maybe), The Point Is Liam Mac Uaid, Matthew Sellwood , Kevin Williamson
Oh yeah, and now go and vote for the Socialist Unity blog in the poll on Dave Osler’s blog!