What can I say other than thank you to all those people who voted for my blog in Iain Dale's survey to find the top 500 blogs.
I have come 17th, ranking me as the highest Lib Dem blog. It appears that when votes from all bloggers are taken in to account, in particular Tory bloggers who often leave more comments on my blog than most, then my blog has some popularity. It's a strange contradiction in terms that I am am rated at 12th place in the top 50 Lib Dem blog's category, but am the highest placed Lib Dem on the overall top 500 chart.
In the same way as different parliamentary constituencies give very different results, it is clear that the two constituencies here, "the Lib Dems" and "the rest" have different tastes in blogs.
Someone suggested to me that the Lib Dems are less able to accept criticism than Tories. Perhaps this is true. After all, Conservative Home, one of the biggest Tory blogs is well know for its vocal criticism of the Tories at times, is still very popular with Tories. And in the case of my blog, let's be fair to the Tories here, my blog does attack them far more than any other political party, but it appears that Tories are prepared to debate the issues and listen to my views, even if they are critical of the Conservative Party. This is to be commended and speaks volumes about some of them as individuals, even though I cannot stand David Cameron's "New Blue Labour" Tory party.
I did wonder about asking fellow Lib Dems what I need to do to ensure a higher rating amongst Lib Dem bloggers next year. Coming 12th in the Lib Dem blogs category was a good start, but I am competitive and want to get higher next year. However, upon learning that I came 17th overall in the category voted for by all bloggers, I guess I will have to learn that I can't please all of the people all of the time, so whilst my blog is less popular with Lib Dems than with non Lib Dems, at least I am getting to other parts of the blogosphere and not just preaching to the converted.
The audience you reach seems to be based very much on the reasons why you start a blog. If it is to relentlessly toe the party line, to simply be a mouthpiece for a political party of your choice, never offering criticism, avoiding giving sensible and balanced advice, never being prepared to admit that other parties might have some good ideas, however rarely, then I am afraid I cannot see the point in doing it. You can get all that from the various party "official" websites.
I wanted this blog to be a way of drawing people in who are not just Liberal Democrats. Perhaps they are socialists, perhaps economic liberals with a small "l", perhaps they are civil libertarians , but whatever their allegiances, by getting them to come to my blog and read what I have to say perhaps, just one or two might think better of the Lib Dems. Perhaps they might consider voting Lib Dem and perhaps they might realise that Lib Dems are not all sandal wearing bearded middle aged men obsessed with proportional representation and Europe.
To those who suggest that I should be more loyal I say that blindly accepting the party without questioning its faults will serve no purpose at all and will not further the causes so many Lib Dems believe in. This is my personal blog, and I am a Liberal Democrat. This should not be confused with this being a Liberal Democrat blog. They are different things and people shouldn't mix them up them.
So again, thanks to everyone who reads my blog, thanks to everyone who voted for me, and in particular, thanks to all those people from across the political spectrum who have embraced this blog as being a worthwhile part of the UK political blogosphere. I know you don't all agree with me, but its part of the political process, a healthy political society that issues are debated and I will continue to do that in the future.