The question stems from an article by New Statement deputy editor James Crabtree here and has already been discussed by Guido and Iain Dale, who largely I do both agree with but wanted to add some of my own too.
Until many of the left wing blogs stop being boring essay style sites, then they'll never "breakthrough" in terms of readership that is diverse and not just wonks and activists talking to each other. Don't get me wrong here, I think Will Straw's Left Foot Forward is great from a political nerdery point of view, but there is only so far that that can take you.
Guido summed it up quite well about how some of our political blogs have become so successful, it's all about doing stuff that can direct and influence the wider-media debate. Blogs are but one little cog in a large clockwork of other source, and the most successful draw crowds in when they discuss not just the ins and outs of detailed policy analysis.
You may not agree with me on that point, but I think the reason my blog has become successful is because I don't just do politics. I do technology too (from a geeky standpoint) and am quite happy to post other totally non-political stuff about Internet sub-culture, silly photos or whatever I fancy on a given day which has led to my traffic reaching what it has.
What some of the Left have to get away from is this idea that those of us on the Right who have been successful are somehow in the pay of and driven by orders from CCHQ. I know not all think that, but it is a common theme that we are. It's bollocks. As a commenter at Iain's blog notes,
I think it will take them [the Left] a while to realise it but in terms of his constant anti-government position Guido is someone the left will have on their side after the election.Never a truer word spoken really, and the same applies here for the most part. I have often said, whilst in the pub with other bloggers or on those secret Tory-only CCHQ backed conspiracy meetings that I go too, that I can;t wait for the Tories to win the next election so that my many detractor on the Left will suddenly see me still having a pop at Government pissing our money away on things and generally buggering things up.
That's going to happen because this is my blog, I take no orders from anyone (apart from the Other Half when it comes to cleaning natch!), and I have bugger all desire to have a political career. So, if you're in possession of documents or leaks when and if the hands on the levers of power change, you can still send them my way and I'll wax lyrical on them.
That's the key to the success of the "Left" in blogs in 2010 and onwards. A willingness to be individual and not feel the need to toe any particular lines. Of course there are some blogs on the Left out there who already do this somewhat, the only problem is that they do it in a way that makes them look like absolute hypocrites.
Take Liberal Conspiracy as a case in a point. A group blog that is obsessed with the Daily Mail's shoddy reporting that tackles it by being just as shoddy and often making comments that fly in the face of their own self-proclaimed moral righteousness.
Anyhow, I know I don't do the monthly statporn like some do, but as it's the New Year, I would just like to thank the 531,848 absolute unique visitors I have received over the past 12 months. Onwards and upwards!
P.S. I agree totally with Guido. Twitter is just a tool. The Left needs to stop obsessing over it by thinking it is a method of out-reach. It ain't.