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The Lib Dem blogosphere has got award-happy lately, what with Mr Dale’s Compleat Almanack of Most Excellente Torie Bloggers (And Some Scurvie Leftie Scumme, Regrettablie), our own Lib Dem Blog of the Year Awards, now in their fourth year, Alex Wilcock’s Tons More Fun™ self-gratification meme and, of course, SB’s Very Prestigious (And Entirely Serious) Blog Awards delivered in a rich imperial shade of purple, the sidebar button that made my nicey-nice, restrained, olive-and-russet-and-antique-cream coloured blog look as if it had drunk one too many tequila slammers and got itself a tattoo.

Mr Dale’s, &c

I ended up, like many others, doing this in a bit of rush because the deadline moved, and my reasoning  was but a confused mish-mash of what I had always loved and what was floating in the top of my mind that week.

So I can’t be confident that my choices are necessarily in the right order. I am pretty sure that Lib Dem Voice and Liberal Conspiracy should respectively top-and-tail the list. But everyone in between is really just a flavour in a mixed ciabatta filling. I mean, how on earth would you determine whether the prawn or the mayonnaise forms the vital ingredient in a prawn cocktail? Which came first, the olive or the cube of feta? I can only apologise for my glibness in chucking y’all into the salad spinner to fend for yourselves and hope that my particular configuration doesn’t cause some vital slippage or other in the table as a whole.

1. Lib Dem Voice – you are our bitches. And you know you are. That is all.

2. Stumbling and Mumbling – Chris Dillow is, for my money, the best political blogger writing today. It wouldn’t be true to say I never miss a post – generally it takes me 72 hours to digest all the implications of each one, which is my problem rather than his. Tends to be underlinked to in the blogosphere, I think because so often there’s nothing to add. He’s just right.

3. Millennium Elephant – Feet of fluff, mind of steel, buns of stickiness. And oh he is so CUTE! Always high quality, bedazzling at his frequent best (this is perhaps his finest hour). And his services to party blogging this past year in arranging interviews have been tremendous. I can’t be the only one thinking that surely this is his year… (see below)

4. Jock’s Place (Jock Coats) – a true radical free thinker in a sea of patter and chatter. Reading his stuff – usually with Wikipedia open in another tab – reminds me what blogging is capable of. This is exactly the sort of easy-come, easy-go popularity contest he probably won’t do that well in – a world where Dizzy Thinks is branded a critical intellectual is a cruel one. But we’re far more likely to see the adjective “Coatsian” enter the political lexicon than “Daleian”, quite frankly.

5. The Real Blog (David Boyle) – some rather similar sentiments apply as to Jock and Chris Dillow. David Boyle would be a shoe-in for Lib Dem Blogger of the Year if he took enough time out from his busy schedule of Being Brilliant to write more a couple of posts a month if we’re lucky. But of course, why would he? He hasn’t even had time to add any fiddly bits or buttons to his off-the-shelf blog design. Pure class.

6. BorisWatch (.co.uk NOT .com) Clarification became necessary when I discovered that boriswatch.com is some demented fanboy site which, among other nefarious acitivites, sells Boriswear. The .co.uk flavour, on the other hand, is “an attempt to enhance the accountability of the new London mayoralty” and does so with perspicacity, aplomb and top class research in the face of oh-my-god-you’re-like-soooo-funny Tory trolling.

7. The Yorksher Gob (Jennie Rigg) – funny and northern and passionate and northern and clever and northern. And did I mention northern? Also, much more innovative as a writer than most of us, with our tendency to write essays which just happen to be on a screen rather than on paper – newspaper columnists in thirty years time, I submit, will write like Jennie. Above all, my favourite kind of feminist -  one that bloody gets on with it.

8. Quaequam blog! (James Graham)He can kill you with a thought! Especially if you omit the exclamation mark! Still the party’s best blogging artillery, scarily incisive and regularly reduces the blogosphere to sensible discourse by the simple means of threatening to be slightly sarcastic. One of the few blogs where I genuinely read every post. Even the ones about comics sometimes.

9. Blunt and Disorderly – a well-established blog which nonetheless came to my notice only quite recently owing, for some reason, to a post about incest, and despite the unpromising beginning went straight onto my favourites. A dilettantish mind which tends to rocket off in all directions – never a bad thing.

10. Liberal Conspiracy - whose government is it anyway? Sunny Hundal has hiked this collective blog (co-starring yours truly when I feel I have something to say that a bunch of Labourites won’t pointlessly shoot me down for) from zero to a major player in a matter of months. And whether you read it for its innate qualities or with the eerie fascination of a NuLab ambulance-chaser, it’s strangely compulsive.

Lib Dem Blog Awards

Best new Liberal Democrat blog (started since 1st August 2007)

This is in many ways the hardest nomination. It’s been a burgeoning year for Lib Dem blogs, so far as I can see. Special mentions (for what they’re worth) go to James Schneider for being effortlessly widely-read, thoughtful and interesting from the off, and Alasdair Wood for blogging passionately and prolifically about every weighty matter that cross his voracious mind at an age where I personally was still obsessed with owning a pony. But after much umming and ahhing, I have settled on Steph Ashley. Mainly because she’s a fabulously entertaining writer, but also, I think, because of this post, in which she discovers, at an unfairly premature juncture, some of the hazards of blogging, and comes through it looking very much like a nice, normal human being, and a credit to the Lib Dem candidature.

Best blog from a Liberal Democrat holding public office

Rick Baum is, IMHO, an overlooked star. Local blogs are one of things Lib Dems, as you might expect, do brilliantly. Rick is a fantastic example of the genre – affects to be in the business of creating cogent, well-written expositions of community politics in a northern town, but occasionally forgets this and is accidentally pant-wettingly funny instead. His humour, intelligence and – for want of a better word – humanity make him a great standard-bearer for elected Lib Demmery.

Best use of blogging or social networking by a Liberal Democrat

Hm. I’m going to have to pass this one. As an old-fashioned word-spouter I’m not entirely clear I have a view on what a successful “use” of blogging or social networking would look like. But I’m sure that, like any other boring ol’ rearguard early adopter, I’ll know it when I see it, so keep trying!

Best posting on a Liberal Democrat blog (since 1st September 2007)

Only one of my posts ever in the whole world anywhere made it onto Lib Dem Voice’s Golden Ton, and it was this one, where I basically wrote three lines saying what a fantastic post this was, and how everyone should go and read it. Seems fitting somehow. It’s funny now, looking back at how utterly nasty the leadership contest got in the blogosphere. But it wasn’t funny at the time, to a comparatively fresh-off-the-blocks blogger who  liked both candidates well enough and couldn’t understand why all these people were getting so damned upset. Alex Wilcock’s post administered a much-needed bucket of cold water in the face to both sides, and in so doing reassured me I hadn’t done entirely the wrong thing in the joining the party.

Best non-Liberal Democrat politics blog

Stumbling and Mumbling again. No question.

Liberal Democrat Blog of the Year

I’ve already described his virtues above, so there’s absolutely NO FLUFFY NEED to go through it all again. He might love the attention, but his daddy will be VERY embarrassed. There is only one Millennium Dome. (No, not THAT one!)

Tons More Fun Blog Awards

Well, this one I like. No categories, no restraints, no compulsory number of posts to nominate, and best of all, I don’t even have to leave the People’s Republic. Posts I would pick on that give me a certain tickle of quiet pride, even where they gave everyone else a certain tickle of click-back, are as follows:

How can we win back twat-in-a-blue-shirt-in-the-street? And do we care?

Terribly Boring III: bumper edition

In which I cling to Nick Clegg’s ankles and weep for justice

Should the Liberal Democrats be doing more to support the Vikings?

Stop the gentrification, I want to get off!

St Nadine the Martyr and the Hounds of Hell

Localism: where will it end (with fluffy bunny picture)

SB’s Very Prestigious (And Entirely Serious) [And Very Purple] Blog Awards

And now I are off over there to submit my nominations to the comment thread. Only thirteen minutes before I turn into a pumpkin…