UK online politics seems to be in a period of transition this summer, and it’s not (yet?) due to the News of the World fallout. It is instead because of the launch of two new large scale blogs – Huffington Post UK, and Dale & Co.
The reputation of Huffington Post in the USA is well known, but I cannot yet work out how to position its UK edition. The homepage is ugly, rather retro, and very text-heavy. I also do not manage to work out what the different sections do, and how content from well known politicians (William Hague for example, on South Sudan) is combined with other people I’ve never heard of. There’s also the stench of Huffington Post, now owned by AOL, making cash on the basis of volunteer efforts of bloggers.
Dale & Co. is smart, clean, well structured and neat, and – at present – claims to be “a new blogging platform, showcasing 107 writers, each with editorial independence, providing some of the best political, media, social and sports commentary on the net”. The lineup of writers has a sprinkling from across the political spectrum, and some of them are known bloggers or journalists in their own right. The problem for me is the World Politics coverage features poorly researched anti-EU bile like this and this.
Not only is this a question of reading these blogs, but also a matter of contributing – Iain has already asked via Twitter whether I might like to write for his site. Whether I could have anything acceptable to contribute to Huffington Post I don’t know.
But that then leads to the vast array of places I do write. Where am I best to put my energy?
- LabourList – with a Labour Party / left of centre audience, the content of the site has developed strongly under Mark Ferguson‘s stewardship. I’m writing a weekly column on EU matters there (first column here), and have written about referendums about the EU, David Miliband and the European Left, Daniel Hannan and Ken Livingstone.
- LeftFootForward – with more of an analytical take than LabourList, I’ve penned pieces on Baroness Ashton, the coalition’s EU policy, and on net neutrality.
- Comment is Free (The Guardian) – with a much wider reach, but without the targeted audience or quality of debate of the big blogs. I’ve written about openness of the European Parliament, the True Finns, and gender balance in the European Commission.
- Public Service Europe – with a narrow, more public administration minded audience. I’ve written on EU referendums in the UK, and the Brussels blogging scene.
- Social Europe Journal blogs – with a EU-wide, academic and centre left focus. Here I’ve contributed pieces on the left in Germany, the left in the European Parliament and nomination of the Commission.
I have recently published a longer piece on Labour’s EU policy in the Pragmatic Radicalism pamphlet, and have also in the past written for Progress (on internet elections and Labour leadership online) and New Europe on David Cameron. Where next I wonder? There is of course the small matter of this blog, with more than 1300 posts over 6 years…
The level of the pieces on the EU so far does not bode well. I studied in Scotland for over a year as an EU citizen and must have pumped thousands of pounds into the Glaswegian economy, but I guess I was just “fleecing the taxpayer” and robbing the throngs of UK citizens vying for a place studying European politics of a place at university.
See, I genuinely get the impression that he’s looking to get a cross section of views on issues, but it’ll obviously be easier for him to persaude people closer to “his” side than those opposed.
For example, within the LD contributers he’s got a good selection of people, one avowedly anti-coalition and leadership, some broadly supportive, some actual real Liberal types as well as the more ‘soggy centrist’ and ‘get stuff done’ types, there could be more, but that’s not a bad pick.
So if he’s trying to build a cross section site that’s avowedly non partisan, and there’s currently a lack of relatively pro-european or at least competent well informed types, he’s aware of it and actively recruiting to cover the gap.
Worth thinking about.
I get the LFF feed and find it variable, for ‘evidence based’ policy making they can at times be willfully obtuse or misrepresenting on issues. I don’t like List, it’s always wound meup and is too partisan for my personal take, I’m still not happy being partisan at all and dislike the infighting approach they seem to take.
CiFi is good to get an audience and some cash, but the comments are such a sewer I avoid the place, and I don’t really know the rest.
Liberal Conspiracy could probably benefit from a few more decent informed contributors, there’s far too much from the idiot left going up there at the moment.
And it’s possible, just possible, that I might get back into writing properly soon. Hope so, anyway, I’m beginning to get stuff to say again.