Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Total Politics Blog Awards - Scottish Blogs

The Total Politics blog awards are being revealed over the next few days, culminating in the overall rankings for the best 100 political blogs in the UK.

Today though, Total Politics published the only real result that matters - the best 25 Scottish blogs. The result is as follows:

1 (-) Better Nation
2 (6) Bright Green Scotland
3 (2) Underdogs Bite Upwards
4 (15) Lallands Peat Worrier
5 (-) A Burdz Eye View
6 (-) Labour Hame
7 (-) Andrew Reeves' Running Blog
8 (9) Sub Rosa
9 (26) Bella Caledonia
10 (-) Dundee Westend
11 (23) Scot Goes POP!
12 (17) Go Lassie Go
13 (-) A Scottish Liberal
14 (-) Newsnet Scotland
15 (-) Suitably Despairing
16 (35) Moridura
17 (22) Kezia Dugdale
18 (47) Munguin's Republic
19 (-)
20 (24) Gerry Hassan
21 (-) View from the Hills
22 (27) Iain Macwhirter Now and Then
23 (-) Alba Matters
24 (-) The Shoogly Peg
25 (-) Universality of Cheese

last year's positions in brackets

A few observations:

* I am incredibly pleased that Better Nation emerged top of the pile - a thoroughly well-deserved achievement.
* Andrew Reeves' contribution to Scottish blogging is recognised with his appearance at number 7 - a fitting tribute to a fantastic man.
* I am pleasantly surprised to see A Scottish Liberal featured as highly as number 13, only one behind Joan McAlpine's Go Lassie Go and ahead of Newsnet Scotland,, Kezia Dugdale, Iain McWhirter and Gerry Hassan. Thank you to everyone who voted!
* Where is Caron's Musings? It's absence from the top 25 seems completely illogical.


Caron said...

Congratulations to you:-). It's great to see 4 Liberal Democrats in the top 21 - Andrew, you, Fraser MacPherson and Gavin.

There are, I think, around 15 SNP related blogs in the top 25 which I guess reflects their current political situation. But one of them is the SNP official party website which suggests that Total Politics haven't really done much filtering of the information.

I had a bit of a tear this morning when I saw Andrew Reeves beat Andrew Neil in the Top Media Blogs. How on earth he got into that category I'll never know. He would have loved it and not stopped going on about it for days if not weeks. I just wish he was here to see it.

Mark Thompson said...

That last point was exactly what I was just wondering. Very odd omission.

Andrew said...

Hi Caron, It is great to see four Lib Dem blogs in the top 25. I was quite surprised that there were so few Labour blogs up there, although am happy to congratulate the excellent Labour Hame on the impact its clearly had on the Scottish political blogosphere.

Well, I would have liked to have seen Andrew at number 1 - as for how he qualifies as "media" I'm not too sure but beating Andrew Neil is no mean achievement! Pleased he is officially the Scottish Lib Dems' most popular blogger, but like you I'd rather he was still here keeping us all entertained...

Mark - I did my bit in the voting. I can't quite believe such a fantastic blog isn't in the top ten, never mind top 25.

GHmltn said...

Well done Mr P - well deserved for an excellent thoughtful blog.

The categories are a bit odd - Con, Lab and LibDem categories and no Nationalist category. The way they did it I suspect that some voting for a Nat blog may have been tempted to put it in the Scottish category and put other ones, like Caron say in the LibDem category.

I'm sure we will see her v v high up the overall rankings and the LibDem rankings - she will have the last laugh!

And yes what is the SNP website doing in a list of blogs????

GHmltn said...

BTW - how did you make 13th best Scottish Blog sign?

Andrew said...

Thanks Gavin for your compliments.

I did notice during the voting that there was no nationalist category - I voted for Lallands Peat Worrier and Go Lassie Go among my top 10 and had to simply list them as "Scottish". That has possibly had an effect on Caron's ranking and, no doubt, you are right when you say she will feature highly in the overall Lib Dem rankings.

I did see the SNP website in the list - as far as I know it doesn't have its own blog, so surely Total Politics should have omitted it from the overall result?

As for the sign, I made it myself using the top ten" label on the TP website as the basis. I can make you one if you like for your well-deserved 21st place!

Stephen Glenn said...

Surely there is some mistake of oversight on Caron. I cannot believe you have dropped that far in one year. We wait and see the Lib Dem list to see if you should be there.

Gavin you could put a blog in as many categories as matched if I recall.

Stuart Winton said...

Congratulations on your strong first showing Andrew.

I suspect Caron's omission is a simple error. After all, as well as some of the dubious inclusions this year, in the past they had one blog - Al Jahom's Final Word - in the Scottish section two years running without any obvious connection to the category at all.

And while there's no point in nitpicking too much, they've linked directly to one of your earlier posts rather than your blog's frontpage, and the link to Gavin's site actually leads to a totally unrelated blog which just happens to be called "View From The Hills" (Pointed this out to Gavin on his own blog.)

Of course, collating and categorising the votes can't be easy, so some dubious results are probably unavoidable.

But, for example, Underdogs Bite Upwards has produced its usual strong showing, however its connection to mainstream Scottish politics must be peripheral at best.

Likewise, I wouldn't include the likes of Iain Macwhirter and Gerry Hassan at all, because such blogs merely reproduce their articles pasted from the MSM and elsewhere onto a blogging platform, which seems to defeat the purpose of it all a bit. Also, as a rule they don't even seem to reply to any comments left, thus there's no obvious added value to them having a blog, at least from the blogosphere's perspective. Joan McAlpine seems to be more or less at the same point these days as well.

GHmltn said...

Thanks Andrew - I would love a 21st label as i don't think I have software here to do photo-shopping and such like :)

Curious also this morning about Labour getting Left wing category and Labour category.

Conservatives get right wing, conservative and libertarian!

Libdems get Libdem - I hope they do more than just a top 25 then!

And how come people like Cranmer get in Libertarian list - he has a brilliant blog but he is a classic conservative (small c) not entirely convinced he is a libertarian.

Curiouser and curiouser!

Andrew said...

Gavin - I will create you a label and e-mail it to you. I think TP would have been better having a "non-labour left wing" category and similarly for the right-wing, as the status quo has simply allowed the same bloggers from Labour and the Tories to do well in multiple categories. Agreec, Cranmer is many things (including highly entertaining!) but he can't be said to be a libertarian. I think TP have simply allowed people to categorise blogs as they see fit, without actually checking whether those categories actually apply. Take Andrew Reeves in the media blogs, for example!

Thanks Stuart for your comments. I noticed that the link was to a (much) earlier post - not sure why that has happened. Didn't realise the link to Gavin's site led elsewhere - will amend it on my own list above.

Andrew said...

Now the voting is over I can disclose how I voted:

1. Stephen's Liberal Journal (Stephen Glenn)
2. Caron's Musings (Caron Lindsay)
3. Lalland's Peat Worrier
4. Andrew Reeves Running Blog (Andrew Reeves)
5. View from the Hills (Gavin Hamilton)
6. Independence Minded Liberal (Douglas McLellan)
7. Spiderplant Land (Lisa Harding)
8. Go Lassie Go (Joan McAlpine)
9. Social Liberal in Pursuit of Fairness (Gordon Anderson)
10. Rt Hon Trouble (Alex White)

With one exception (two if you include Stephen, who is in so many way Scottish!) these are all from Scottish bloggers. Only 4 appeared in the above list.

Stuart Winton said...

Also meant to say yesterday - my first attempt disappeared into the ether! - that if Caron was caught out in the categorisations dilemma then presumably that would apply to the rest of you as well?

Last year's inaugural Scotblog awards - organised by Duncan/Doctor Vee via his Scottish Roundup site - were probably a better barometer of the MacBlogosphere because the organisers had a better idea of what was and wasn't relevant.

Unfortunately they only seemed to last one year and Duncan has more or less departed the purely political MacBlogosphere.

(By the way Gavin, in case you're still reading and was wondering about my comment about posting on your site, I didn't actually manage it - I often can't use my Google ID to post on some Blogger platforms and you don't allow anon comments.)

Andrew said...

Stuart - that's a good point of course, and perhaps explains the huige number of SNP blogs. The issue is how people identify blogs, whether as "Scottish" or by party allegiance. In Caron's case it is very likely that many simply saw her as a Lib Dem blogger and perhaps overlooked her Scottishness (not an easy thing to do, I know!). Perhaps I was helped by having the word "Scottish" in the title...?

I think you're right about the Scotblog awards being a more useful guage of blog popularity - perhaps they should be resurrected - but surely TP can take a leaf out of Duncan's book and actually do some research into the nature/appropriate categorisation of blogs being voted for while dismissing what isn't relevant?

Stuart Winton said...

Andrew, indeed, but I suppose it's quite a big undertaking and in their defence they probably just don't have the time to look at it all in that much detail.

Duncan and those who assisted him in his poll would have known the Scottish scene pretty intimately, thus a Caron-esque clanger just wouldn't happen.

By including blogger - rather than just a blog per se - categories this year Total Politics has also increased the complexity of the whole thing significantly.

I see they've now got lots of shiny new buttons/graphics in the main poll page, which perhaps encapsulates the complexity of it all and the scope for errors, quibles and nitpicking.

For example, they've now added a Top 50 Scottish button to the Top 10 one, but unfortunately we only got a Top 25 this year - the Top 50 was last year! (I think the size of the Scottish chart has varied in all four years that I've had an interest).

By the way, I think the SNP/pro-independence blogs have always dominated the Scottish awards, and this probably just reflects their numerical dominance of the MacBlogosphere per se and wider social media.

Andrew said...

Stuart, thanks for that info. I'm reasonably new to blogging and so am not as aware as I perhaps should be of the nature of the systems employed by Total Politics and Scottish Roundup for their respective awards. Obviously an intimate knowledge of the blogosphere is going to be an advantage and would prevent the kind of situations that led to Caron being omitted from the Scottish awards, official party websites being ranked and others being placed in inappropriate categories.

Having looked over previous results, I see you're right in respect to pro-independence blogs - but I was a little surprised there isn't more of a Labour presence in the top 25.