At the start of the year, I wrote: "Having a vastly inflated sense of my personal worth, I cannot help myself from nominating myself for the Orwell Prize for blogging. Even though I can think of several people more deserving, like Rosie, Phil, David, the Beached Brigadista, Martin, Sarah D, Will, Paul." Well, I am not surprised or dissappointed to find myself missing from the announced longlist this week, and gratified that one of my own longlist did make it.
David Osler would be my first choice from the longlist (I think this is the second time he has made it there). He has Orwellian qualities (in the good sense): he is a democratic socialist, with a keen sense of class politics and a sincere hostility to left-wing forms of totalitarianism; he is a jobbing hack, with all the craftsmanship and professionalism that implies and none of the cynicism; and he is a pretty good writer, producing concise and thought-provoking blogposts.
In general, though, I am a little dissappointed at the longlist, which mostly includes the blogs of party political hacks. Among the politicos, I quite like Sunder Katwala's Next Left, and I recommend a couple of his nominated entries: Britain is the stuff of Red Tory nightmares, So, does ANYBODY count as truly British, Mr Dacre? Daniel Hannan, on the other hand, is truly appalling. It is no surprise to see the appearance of zeitgeisty and vastly overrated Laurie Penny.
I think that Paul Mason's Idle Scrawl and Channel 4's FactCheck blog are both excellent, but as productions of massive mainstream media corporations they seem out of place in an award for blogging. At the other end of the spectrum, there are some very personal blogs on the longlist, which I will be spending some time with, including Duncan McLaren's Visiting Mabel and Ben Gunn's Prison Blog.
While I'm here, have I recommended The Politics of the Hap before? An interesting, thoughtful blog, on a range of subjects, both intellectual/political and emotional. I feel a little out of place on its rarefied blogroll, but am not complaining.
And, relevant to some of the material above, I just read Andrew Coates' interesting Socialist response to Blue Labour. Two other reading recommendations: Julie Bindel on East End Pride; Henning Bertram on multiculturalism.