Total Politics has published its list of Northern Ireland’s top twenty weblogs. The chart has been collated from the votes of readers, who are asked to submit a list of their ten favourite sites. Many of you will know this, because you voted ‘Three Thousand Versts’ into second position. Again! Thanks to everyone who took time out to participate in the poll and include this blog in their list. When the UK chart is revealed, it would be nice if local sites were well represented.
Slugger O’Toole bestrides the world of Northern Irish weblogs like a colossus and it takes the number one position (presumably comfortably). I must confess a love hate relationship with Mick Fealty’s site. The quality of writing varies considerably between team members, it has lost one of its most astute unionist commentators, who contributed under the name ‘Fair Deal’, and it carries a degree of blogging ballast. However it is much the most vibrant forum for political debate in the province (albeit that a fair sample of it is either awe inspiringly repetitive or bordering on pathological), it breaks stories and it aggregates the pertinent issues in a fashion which smaller blogs cannot match. Its links are also the life blood for the rest of the Northern Irish blogosphere which generally builds its traffic through recognition on Slugger.
The rest of the list contains a few surprises. Unionist Lite’s third place showing is not one of them. Nor is the inclusion, at number seven, of ‘Bobballs’, a blog which melds astute commentary and humour to startling effect. But no ‘Burke’s Corner’? Has the scarcity of articles about local politics disqualified it from the Northern Ireland category? Its writing sets it apart from many of the supposed top twenty. And does the grim ethno-nat number crunching of ‘Ulster’s Doomed’ really command an enthusiastic audience? Apparently so. It is a new entry at number six.
There are a couple of good young blogs with which I am not familiar that make the cut. ‘The Dissenter’ has broken in at number twenty and I’ll be adding it to my links shortly. ‘Conservative and Unionist NI’ is a title which speaks for itself and it looks to be a site worth keeping an eye on.