Introducing Top of the Blogs: The Dirty Dozen #1

When I agreed to write this monthly round up of Labour and Tory blogging I said I would aim to “keep a balance between pointing to interesting postings that we Lib Dems may have missed and laughing at the folly of our opponents”.

So here goes.

Labour blogs

The Labour blogosphere is a strange place. Tory bloggers may often be barking mad, but there opinionated approach and lack of concern for the party line means that Liberal Democrat bloggers are likely to recognise them as kindred spirits however much we differ on policy.

Labour blogging does not feel like that. It seems that many Labour supporters prefer to blog at Labourhome rather than maintain their own sites. No doubt they can all write what they want there, but the exercise does make you suspect that Labour bloggers can be haled off to re-education camps at a moment’s notice if they are insufficiently euphoric about their Beloved Leader.

On the individual Labour blogs, Kerron Cross reveals that the high-profile Tory PPC Esther McVey has had to pay £6,500 to Stephen Hesford, the sitting Labour MP for West Wirral, after settling a libel claim out of court.

Dave’s Part mounts an effective attack on Peter Hain simply by quoting from one of the many books he wrote to explain socialism to new comrades after the left the Liberal Party.

And Paul Flynn offers what can fairly be called a candid portrait of Paul Murphy upon his Lazarus-like return to the Cabinet.

Tom Watson has some fun at the expense of the West Midlands Conservative MEPs. They illustrated their website with a picture of Birmingham. Fair enough, you will say. But this was Birmingham, Alabama.

Enough of being fair minded.

If you have the outlook and sense of humour of a 1947 Stalinist you will enjoy John’s Labour Blog and his joke beginning “An old scab postman lay dying…”.

And Labour like controlling us, don’t they? To this end, Bob Piper wants all alcoholic drinks to be barcoded so that the authorities can trace it back to the shop that sold it.

But it’s hard to get to ideological about this. It will probably be Lib Dem policy in six months.

Conservative blogs

You know where you are with the Tories. Forget all this stuff about windmills and hugging huskies: you need only scratch the surface to find the same old attitudes.

So Nadine Dorries began the year by writing to Ofcom to complain about Catherine Tate’s Christmas special, which was broadcast after the watershed. She was not complaining that Tate is being overexposed or that the words “Christmas special” generally translate as “Not at all funny”. No, Mad Nad though it “was offensive and violated the expression ‘family viewing‘.”

And Shane Greer cannot contain his glee over the red blood of the party’s latest policy announcement:

David Cameron’s plan to strip benefits from unemployed people who turn down offers of work should be greeted with delight by anyone with sense. But his plan to cut the number of people on incapacity benefit should met with unparalleled glee.

I have been know to write in favour of grazed knees myself, which made me warm towards Boris Johnson’s article from just before Christmas on playgrounds and safety. Unfortunately, I could not follow every step in his chain of argument that soft play surfaces lead to gang violence.

Incidentally, I have had to link to the Daily Telegraph version of this article as Boris’s own website is behaving oddly at the moment. Rather like Boris.

A more serious take on gang violence is offered by Elle Seymour, who writes of a friend’s experiences of teaching in Hackney.

Or perhaps it is all down to the bad example offered by David Cameron and reported by ConservativeHome?

Finally, best wishes to Iain Dale, the Daddy of Tory blogging, who tells us that he had been diagnosed with diabetes but that he still counts himself very lucky.

* Jonathan Calder blogs at Liberal England.

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