Well this week Total Politics finish announcing their Blog awards for 2011. Scottish blogging amongst the LibDems has come out of it looking remarkably healthy. I counted 19 Scottish LibDem blogs with a variety of styles in the top 100.
There is no doubt it has been a really tough year to be a Scottish Libdem. If we are to weather the current storm we need to rejuvenate intellectually. Never mind anyone else, a crucial part of this is that we need to start with defining who we are and what we believe. Then we need to communicate that. We must be clear of this and rebuild on that basis.
This is perhaps more than any other time since the 1920s a time of political realignment. Political voting blocs have been breaking down for a while now and the voters are more volatile than ever. Gone are the old certainties. This is true throughout the United Kingdom but even more so in Scotland.
These shifting sands threaten to create a new landscape – one in which a party can take new form and new strength; or one in which it can get eroded away.
This is therefore time for rebirth and we must define who we are and what we are about from first principles and blogging is a crucial part of that.
And these blogs come in all shapes and sizes. Some are about activism, some about ideas and some are just ordinary people making comments and observations on life. All play a part in rebirth and in being a living and thriving movement.
If the embers burn strong, the fire can catch light again and connect with the people who think as we think.
Total Politics - Total Libdemmery
So what of the Scottish blogging scene for the LibDems? First a word of thanks.
I was absolutely thrilled to be in both the Top 25 LibDem Blogs and the Top 25 Scottish Blogs for The View to the Hills and I am one of the Top 35 LibDem Bloggers.
I had hoped to get a rating since starting to blog in April this year. I wanted this to help establish my blog and my blogging escapades. However, I have been slightly embarrassed but dead chuffed to come in as 21st best political blog in Scotland and the 23rd best LibDem blog in the UK.
Thank you so much to everyone who voted for me - it means a lot! :)
As I said, depending on how you count them there are 19 Scottish bloggers in the top 100 LibDem blogs. They are a disparate bunch with contrasting but complementary styles.
Caron has the top LibDem blog after the successful group LibDem blog, LibDem Voice. She is one of the most outstanding bloggers of British political blogging today from across the political spectrum. She writes with honesty and with passion and of real life experiences. She is also an articulate advocate of her causes and a voice for the party in Scotland. Most of all her voice is one of real character and feeling.
The legendary Andrew Reeves comes in at 4th place.
Stephen Glenn is another blogging legend and aficionado of the Tour de France. He's moved to Northern Ireland but he is still a card carrying Scottish LibDem so he counts. Stephen comes in at 5th position.
Andrew Page comes in at 7 with the excellent A Scottish Liberal. This is a very different type of blog to Caron's. Andrew is an excellent writer and analyst about a broad range of policy and philosophical topics. It is great to see him recognised as such across Scotland and throughout the UK. And he speaks Gaelic.
Fraser Macpherson comes in at 9 with his long running masterclass in running a councillor’s blog.
Dan Falchikov comes in at 15 - a London Scot and, as Caron says, as much a Scot as Jeff Breslin. He runs a classic columnist style blog, regular and espousing rich opinions. With his father active in Edinburgh he is in a way Scottish LibDem royalty.
Caron also claims the learned and Cicero - another quite excellent writer - because he is Scottish. He comes in at 19.
Then there are the councillors David May, Sanjay Samani, and Paul Edie. There is also the brilliantly named Climbing Russell's Mountain by Councillor Keith Legg, although it is more than a councillor's blog.
There is Wild Women,an excellent group blog for Scottsh Women. Liberal Youth Scotland is the group blog for a vibrant youth movement.
Blogging regularly from the West coast is Nic Prigg,and newcomer Gordon Anderson with Social Liberal in the Pursuit of Fairness; and in the East is An Independence Minded Liberal by Douglas McLellan. Douglas is a far more talented writer and commentator than he realises and I wish he could write more often. I'm also think he should have kept the brilliant title Midlothian Liberal which was his brand and an excellent and distinctive one at that.
James Taylor's Liberal Thought, and Alex Cole-Hamilton's Liberal Landslide, are both quality blogs by two people who really should blog more often. James Taylor in particular provides a multi-page blog and a fusion of business, innovation, and the arts as well as politics.
These represent the ideas and values of a living party. My sincerest hope is that they continue to feed the party and it begins to grow strong and find its place again in the scottish political environment.