Following my state visit to Wales at the weekend, I thought I'd write a few words on the state of the Welsh blogosphere, which, in general terms, is in a state of rude health.
It came into its own in the run-up to the Assembly elections last year, when blogs such as the Guido-esque Arsembly became required reading for all those interested in politics west of the Severn Bridge. Sadly, in the subsequent months Arsembly went to meet his blog maker, as did the excellent Blamerbell Briefs, whose author Ciaran Jenkins is now a reporter for BBC Wales. Blamerbell threatened to become the single must-read Welsh blog, but it was not to be. Since then, the Welsh blogosphere has threatened to disappear up its own posterior, but I get the sense that there is a new sense of vibrancy among Welsh bloggers. The advent of the Labour attack blog Aneurin Glyndwr has enraged nationalists, who have hit back with the Owain Bevan blog.
But there's a big gap in the Welsh blogosphere to fill - that gap is on the right, where there is a big, gaping void. There are 91 blogs listed in the Welsh section of the Total Politics Blog Directory, but you can count the number of Conservative leaning Welsh blogs on the fingers of two hands. Why is this? Ask me another. It rather blows one popular theory out of the water - that right wing blogs are so popular and prevalent because it is far easier to blog in opposition. If that were the case, Wales and Scotland would be at the forefront of right of centre blogging! It's not that there aren't a lot of opinionated right of centre politicos in Wales. There are. And I know a lot of them. Yes, there's Dylan Jones-Evans, David Jones MP and a few others besides, but with the exception of of the brilliantly incisive Glyn Davies, somehow they have just not made the same impact as Labour and Plaid blogs.
Still, if there's one consolation for the Tories, it's the fact that the LibDems are also rans in Welsh blogging. Apart from the excellent Peter Black, there are very few noteworthy LibDem blogs. DibLemming, written by Steph Ashley, showed lots of early promise, but she hasn't blogged since January, unfortunately. I'm not sure she ever realised what an effect she was having. Someone should persuade her to make a comeback.
There's little doubt in my mind that Plaid Cymru is where the action is on the Welsh blogosphere. There are a few interesting Labour blogs, but Plaid really seem to understand the medium and what it can do for them. They are willing to take a few risks - witness the criticism by Pendroni of the party's line on tuition fees - and the national party seems willing to believe that the threats from blogging are outweighed by the opportunities.
The question is: can political blogs in Wales get a mass audience which reached beyond the rather narrow confines of the Senned and Cardiff Bay and be read by ordinary people with an interest in political discourse? In many ways, that's the question for all of us.
Anyway, these are twelve of the best of the 91 Welsh political blogs. I don't say they are necessarily the best or the most popular, but they are ones that I look at most often.
0725 to Paddington
Written by Western Mail journalist Tomos Livingstone.
Written by three young journos, the "three Dewis", aims to cover all aspects of Welsh politics, including video interviews.
BBC political correspondent whose contacts book in Welsh politics is unsurpassed.
Political but not party political, written by a "woman of a certain age".
The must read Labour attack blog, masterminded by self styled Welsh blogging guru David Taylor.
Paul Flynn MP
Prolific and off message, probably the best written Labour supporting blog in Wales.
Adam Price MP
The blog of the next leader of Plaid in Westminster.
Bethan Jenkins AM
Readble, gossipy, personal and written by the best looking woman in Welsh politics.
North Wales nationalist blogger whose two month retirement from blogging has now ended.
Former AM and now Lembit Opik's opponent, his is probably the best right of centre political blog in Wales.
David Jones MP
Personal and the political combine well in this blog by the up and coming Tory MP for Clwyd West.
Peter Black AM
One of the most long established Welsh blogs, and one of the most readable. Often off message.
For a complete list of Welsh political blogs click HERE.