In a whine that seems to call out for vehement refutation Owen Gibson writes in the Grauniad today about the lack of British blogs in the "heavyweight" division as it were:
While Belle de Jour got the mainstream media speculating on her (or his) identity, and the likes of Scary Duck greatly amuse, there is a sense that the Americans take their blogging more seriously than we do. With the odd exception (Guido Fawkes’ Order-Order.com and Mick Fealty’s Slugger O’Toole blog on Northern Ireland for example), there is little heavyweight comment and it is rare to see a blog break a story or substantially move it on.
So I think I'll try and do my little bit to refute. It occurs to me that one reason why the Grauniad doesn't see any "serious" blogs is because many of the cruiserweights, such as they are, all seem to be focussed on Europe - a topic which the MSM in the UK seems to do its best to belittle if not ignore. For example the EU Referendum blog has most certainly contributed to the discomforture of Barroso and his pals with the one-two team of Booker in the Torygraph plus North on the Blog providing plenty of ammunition to those that wish to put our Eurocracy under pressure. nIt is unclear to me just how many Eurosceptics there are but Eu-Serf, Tim Worstall, EurSoc, England Expects are just the first few to trip off my history list (mental note add England Expects to blogroll). Tim Worstall appears to be remiss by not telling the Grauniad about his Britblog roundup which always delights and provides links to numerous blogs that are sort of British related.
Then there are the lefties and sorta lefties such as Oliver Kamm, Harry's Place, Norm and blogging journos such as Melanie Philips, Stephen Pollard and Johann Hari. When it came to (say) the recent AUT decision to boycott Israel all these sites greatly aided the anti-boycott faction. Again, as with Europe, I wonder if the problem is that these blogs tend to hold positions that are contrary to the Grauniad's ones and thus are automatically categorized as shrill loonies.
One of the bloggers at "A Hot Chick called Lakshmi" wrote an article a year ago about the British Blogosphere where he makes an excellent point about there not (yet) being a big issue that drives debate and I think that is true. Certainly in France the referendum on the EU Constitution drove interest in blogs and I would expect something similar to happenin the UK if we ever get a referendum on the EU. It is possible that some other mad ideas of the ZaNu Labout will also galvanise debate and bloggers, as perhaps would a major terrorist outrage in the UK. Amusingly TimW notes, however, that Owen managed to be infected by a blog-inspired meme in his article though so perhaps blogs are in fact influencing debate in the UK despite their relatively lower profile.