. Hands-up all those out there from the Liberal Democrat blogsphere who read Sunny Hundal's Liberal Conspiracy? As I suspected a few but not many; so the next question why don't more of you?? You may even wonder why this is worth a whole posting; well, it is one of the top five political blogs in this country and the only one of the top five that actually has a 'liberal-left' mission statement. So, it's the only one likely to challenge the Conservative domination of the blogsphere (Mike Smithson's Political Betting is a neutral site to my mind despite Mike's personal sympathy to the Lib Dems).
Liberal Democrat Voice has a sizable audience but I can't help feeling it is largely an audience of the already converted. It's main competition is Conservative and Labour Home in all reality as these are the main unofficial partisan discussion communities which tend to orientate in the same way. In terms of 'outreaching' I feel LDV is thus something of a different species compared to Liberal Conspiracy; in reality, Liberal Conspiracy has a huge potential as a focal point for wider opposition after the next election returns some kind of majority or minority Conservative government. It is time to add a slight caveat; if it is a minority Conservative government then Liberal Democrat Voice may well be the main beneficiary (along, of course, with Labour blogs). However, in general I would expect it to be pushing Iain and Guido hard; certainly harder than it does now when anti-government sentiment is likely to be best expressed by Conservatives.
Liberal Conspiracy, as a collaborative effort, in some ways has more potential outreach than the likes of Iain Dale who is a very talented individual but nonetheless still an individual (as are the likes of Letters and Dizzy). I suspect, though people might like to confirm or deny this in comments, that alot of Lib Dem bloggers feel that Liberal Conspiracy is essentially the organ of the Labour-left/Compass wing of that party. Jennie Rigg does an admirable job of representing our politics on the site itself but she is to all intents and purposes a lone Lib Dem voice.
Looking down the list of contributors I see the only other listed avowedly Lib Dem contributor is Alix Mortimer who is a prolific contributor to Liberal Democrat Voice. As far as I can see the bulk of the listed contributors are from the 'soft-Labour' left; that is they may not be members of Labour or even supportive of the current regime but when the cookie crumbles that is where their alligence lies. In other words it doesn't strike me as a very politically balanced list; and I have to say this is not just a Liberal Democrat only gripe, there seems to be little input from Green's either (and I can think of at least one quality Green blogger off the top of my head and I am sure there are more).
It is with some irony then that Jennie's article today points to how the Tory press is 'love-bombing' the Lib Dems when there appear to be no similar efforts from Labour either officially (which admittedly is unlikely) or unofficially from 'soft-Labour' types who surely have no desire to see the Conservatives returned to government. In terms of reflecting a plurality of progressive opinion I think therefore Liberal Conspiracies composition is somewhat questionable. If it wants to become a serious challenging force to the Conservative hegemony of the blogsphere then I think a more pluralist approach is required. As for us, the benefits would be obvious in increased publicity for the Lib Dems in the blogsphere...