Tuesday, 22 September 2009

There goes PoliticsHome...

Every day for about the last 18 months I've been clicking on PoliticsHome.com to get their digest of the day's main news and news-related comment, curated and sorted in links gathered from across the gamut of the daily UK papers.
While moving about the site I've tended, too, to take a gander at their live, rolling bulletin board of what they rate as the best blog posts on politics - the calibre of which is decidedly more variable than the print-standard news, but quite often refreshingly candid and original, when not ravening for the ascension to power of Her Majesty's current Opposition...
The sort of Web 'aggregation' practised by PoliticsHome happens to suit both my ideological mindset and reading habits these days: I speak as someone who takes the FT when out and about but otherwise finds the other daily papers a bit demographically skewed, irksomely predictable in that sense, and generally incapable of satisfying the real range of one's interests in the current affairs. The pick and mix of PoliticsHome makes for an enviably diverse reading experience, though, of course, all it is doing is enabling a promiscuous cruising of the fruits of the writerly/reporting labour of others. On that score, for a long time I've been of the guilty feeling that papers need to be extracting exchange value for the content they make available online; and so I back what I suppose we must call the Murdoch position on this matter.
Anyhow, much of the foregoing was instantly outmoded as of today by the resignation from PoliticsHome of its editorial chief Andrew Rawnsley, this in response to... oh, I'll just let the BBC explain:
"Deputy Conservative chairman Lord Ashcroft has bought a stake in the grassroots website ConservativeHome. ConservativeHome and its non-partisan sister site PoliticsHome will both be part of a new media company in which Lord Ashcroft owns a 57.5% stake. ConservativeHome editor Tim Montgomerie said he was "satisfied" with assurances the peer did not want to interfere with the site's editorial policy. But PoliticsHome editor-in-chief Andrew Rawnsley has resigned. Mr Rawnsley, who is also associate editor of The Observer newspaper, said he took the job on the basis that PoliticsHome was "clearly independent of any party both editorially and financially". He told the Guardian: "It was essential for users of the site that they could feel absolute confidence in the political independence of PoliticsHome. I do not believe that can be compatible with being under the ownership of the deputy chairman of the Conservative Party."
Am I just being Minerva's owl now when I say that for quite a while I had been feeling that PoliticsHome was a bit too cosy to the Cameron project in any case? Maybe all I was picking up was that tiring and oft-noted NuBlue tinge to most UK politics coverage online - evidence if nothing else of the part-effectiveness of Cameron's 'modernising' of 'his' party.
In fairness it's PoliticsHome (through the medium of the aforementioned blog-roll) that has enabled me tonight to easily follow the course of its own regrettable 'becoming the story', as a hefty chunk of its cross-party-sympathy Panel of 100 analysts have duly resigned in sympathy with Rawnsley's concerns. But, nonetheless, per those very concerns, for me as a reader it now must be 'Goodnight Vienna' (or 'Goodnight Saigon'?) too. Anybody know of another good current affairs aggregator out there?

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