Sunday, 3 May 2009

My Welsh Blogosphere - Peter Black AM

Whilst I have not been afraid to air my own views on the Welsh blogosphere, the fact is that if it did not exist then we would have to invent it.

Welsh blogs may be parochial, sometimes petty, occasionally vicious, always interesting and often self-interested but they and those who write them are the only ones who seem interested in properly debating the wider political issues that impact upon our lives and our democracy.

If you want a debate on the case for and against a yes vote on Part Four of the Government of Wales Act then the best place to look is the Welsh blogosphere. If you want to know the gossip behind the latest issues in the Assembly or on acts of Government then you will turn first to the blogs.

There is no Guido Fawkes here, no Iain Dale, even my own modest efforts and those of Leanne Wood, Bethan Jenkins, Huw Lewis, Adam Price, Leighton Andrews, Paul Flynn and Glyn Davies cannot match the popularity of Tom Harris or John Prescott, but we can bring an insight to Welsh issues that nobody else is offering. It is an insiders' view albeit tinted by our own political stance.

Two parties in particular have embraced blogging and new media. Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats are leading the way with Labour and the Tories trailing some way behind. The journalists have joined in too most notably through Betsan Powys, Vaughan Roderick and David Cornock, however what is missing is the independent commentators, the enthusiastic amateur who has no axe to grind and is not doing it as part of their job. Blammerbell is much missed and as yet nobody has managed to step into his shoes.

The other omission in the political blogosphere in my view is the more philosophical blog throwing up ideas for discussion and debate. Normal Mouth has gone leaving The Bevan Foundation as the nearest we have to that but they have a clear but limited brief and something more wide-ranging is needed.

Whatever, the missing links there is no doubt in my mind that the quality of Welsh blogs is high, they hit above their weight on the Welsh political scene and have even been known to have an influence beyond the few hundred people who read them on a daily basis. When they interact with the Welsh media and find themselves quoted on the floor of the Senedd and the House of Commons then we know that Welsh blogs are here to stay and to flourish.

As I am still driving my laptop I will settle for a coke, full fat of course.

(Written by Peter Black, Assembly Member, Welsh blogger, creator and author of his own self titled blog, and contributor to Freedom Central)

This is the second of a series of posts giving a chance for Welsh bloggers to have their say on the state of the blogosphere and where it's going. If you're interested in contributing place feel free to contact me at

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