As we approach the political blog awards season, with most notably the Total Politics blog awards but also the Liberal Democrat blog of the year awards, there is often criticism from some that the same old (Tory) faces dominate lists of “top” blogs.
The Liberal Democrat blog of the year awards (which came from an idea I originally had and which I’ve helped run in previous years) deliberately attempt to deal with this by (a) being LibDem (though there is one category for non-LibDems) and (b) adding the previous year’s blog of the year winner to the judging panel, so forcing a new winner each time in at least that category.
Part of the issue is about how much importance do you attach to the traffic level that a blog attracts, but I think there is also merit in the argument that there are good blogs out there which don’t get much attention, particularly those which are aimed at a particular geographic area (and that isn’t London).
So here’s my top under-rated blog: David Ottewell’s Manchester Evening News blog. As the name hints, it’s not about London. Mixing Manchester with national news, it’s a good political read even if you’ve got no particular interest in Manchester itself but also it’s a great example of how a blog can add to the political coverage of an area.
I think it’s that local coverage where there is often the biggest opportunity for political blogs. After all, we’re hardly short of national political opinion and commentary in the national media but local political news is often very thin on the ground in either national or local media. Blogging and politics would be all the better if there were more blogs like David Ottewell’s.