It is, for me, the first Total Politics Top Blogs 2009 poll. And what a fracas it has caused already. There have been impassioned pleas for a total Boycott and there have been skin crawlingly supplicant attempts to harvest my vote.
Tim Ireland implores me to boycott this Poll of Blogs. The argument for a Boycott is fairly straight forward. First of all there is the fact that Iain Dale is a vile hate merchant. That may sound polemic, but look at this. What sort of a man wants to whip up anti-immigrant feeling like that? Who would want to lie so brazenly? Someone looking to score cheap political points off the most brow beaten and vulnerable people in society.
Moreover, some bloggers who I really respect are also Boycotting this poll (not to say I don’t respect Tim Ireland). Anton Vowl of the enemies of reason fame. Anton explain why he holds Mr Dale is such contempt.
Here’s a man, after all, who said there were ‘no border controls’. A man who vilified Tory MP James Gray, whom he doesn’t like, when he was *falsely* accused of having claimed a remembrance wreath on expenses, yet said nothing when Boris Johnson, whom he does like, actually *did* claim a remembrance wreath on expenses.
Ouch Iain… Ouch indeed. Secondly, another post over at Bloggerheads also gives a very good summary of why Iain Dale’s Poll is a actually just a Poll of Conservative Voter opinion. When two polls are taken, one by an “impartial” politics magazine and another by a partisan conservative blog, and both return almost identical results you have to discuss the validity of their methods. Ultimately, it appears, a vote in this Poll could become a vote to validate the result of an inevitably right-leaning poll and legitimise the ramblings of a right-leaning man.
So, why should you Boycott this Poll? I’ll let Tim have the final word.
Well, let me put it this way:
1. Iain Dale is a lying, self-publicising blog-cheat who knowingly uses smears against his political enemies. Why should you reward him with the status this poll affords him?
2. The poll is (and always has been) sponsored by APCO Worldwide, a pro-tobacco PR company with a history of astro-turfing. Why should you lend credibility to a sponsor that engages in activities most bloggers regard to be abhorrent?
On the other hand, there are plenty of bloggers who I also respect who are taking part. Dave Semple over at Though Cowards Flinch can hardly be described as pandering to a right wing crowd and he is taking part. The Third Estate also get in on the act, as does Charlotte Gore.
So if Iain Dale is such a hate figure for many in the blogoshpere why is this Poll popular? Well, if there’s one thing which Bloggers love it is people listening to them. Or at least visiting their blogs so that they think people are listening to them. And this poll caters to their vanity. As much as I agree with some of the reasons for Boycotting this poll I don’t think it’s enough to stop me joining in. I love a good old fashioned popularity contest.
So, who have I voted for?
- Liberal Conspiracy
- The Bickerstaffe Record
- The Third Estate
- John Q Publican
- The Daily Quail
- Though Coward Flinch
- Upon Nothing
- The Daily (Maybe)
- A Very Public Sociologist
This doesn’t nearly cover all the Blogs I like, or read, or use for their weekly selected reading, or… well you get the picture.
There are definitely some Blogs which only just missed out. Some great stuff written over at Lenin’s Tomb, Shiraz Socialist, The Ministry of Truth, Pickled Politics, The Enemies of Reason (not in my top ten for obvious reasons), Various Philosophies of Cynicism, The Sun Lies, Freemania, Himmelgarten Café, Libertatrian Lib Dem Charlotte Gore, Libertarian Son of a Bitch Old Holborn (usually talks utter nonsense, but is an interesting window into angry anti-politics), Bob from Brockley, the excellent Penny Red and the hilarious spEak You’re bRanes to name but fourteen more.
Oh yes and before I forget, vote for me!