Iain Dale has taken political blogging to a new dimension by launching Total Politics, an essential internet resource for political animals like myself.
Total Politics is Iain’s brainchild and is also available as a printed edition which Iain hopes “will do for politics what GQ has done for men’s fashion”. Is that a reference to the snazzy ties Iain favours?
The website will contain most of the content of each issue of the magazine. It also aggregates all the political and journalists’ blogs and I was interested to see that Labour bloggers (267) are ahead of Conservatives (268) by 1. It also hosts a collection of Political Quotations and a Political Speeches Database.
I would like to see the website include more links to worldwide political blogs so it becomes a unique source of leading international political blogs too. I would also like to see Total Politics encourage younger readers, to focus regularly on their political views and aspirations. We do have a youth parliament and these young people will be our future decision makers.
Iain is asking for feedback on the site, so do check it out. The magazine is available now at WH Smith and includes an exclusive interview with Gordon Brown, as well as the Australian political strategist Lynton Crosby. These are quality interviews which the mag will have to sustain to keep its readers hooked.
James Robinson tells us that copies of Total Politics, backed by Tory benefactor Michael Ashcroft, will be sent to every elected official in the land – from MPs to local councillors – giving it a controlled circulation of 23,000. But they also need to prove its viability by sales at the cash till.
I hope there are enough political enthusiasts to support this venture. And, of course, there is the irony of Iain promoting the printed media at a time when he enthuses the power of blogging. I don’t have a problem with that as I am an avid fan of the printed media.
The question is whether enough Spectator and New Statesman readers will buy it as well as their favourite political read. And if readers can get the content free online, what is going to persuade them to subscribe to a printed version? Will there be enough advertisers to make it profitable during these times of economic gloom? I hope the magazine includes some gossip too, after all, what’s politics without a few fun, bitchy comments?
Good luck Iain, I look forward to buying a copy, and thanks for including my link in your Political Blog Directory. I admire Iain’s courage in launching new political media ventures, in trying to engage all political parties and the public in interaction.
*Worth a read, Matt Wardman’s more detailed review of Total Politics.