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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 August, 2004, 09:00 GMT 10:00 UK
Your choice of politics sites
By Brian Wheeler
BBC News Online political reporter

Escape key on keyboard
The internet provides a growing forum for political debate - but with so many different sites to choose from where do you start? We asked BBC News Online users for their favourite political sites. Here are the results so far:

Bloggerheads - Tim Ireland's lively and irreverent site which led the campaign to get an e-mail address for Tony Blair - was described by Peter Connoly, of Newbury, as "an excellent site that both cheers and angers me every day," adding "The man is a web God!" Andrew Hewitt, of Northampton said Tim had "done more than anyone else to bring political blogging to the mainstream".

(You can take a look at Bloggerheads - and all of the sites mentioned here - by clicking on the link on the right hand side of this page)

Harry's Place was another popular choice - a left-leaning blog dedicated to "telling people what they don't want to hear". Oliver Bennett, of London, described it as "utterly compulsive", adding that it "attracts lots of people just to disagree - testament to its power".

Guacamoleville, a new blog set up to cover the forthcoming Hartlepool by-election, was also named by several people as one to watch for its detailed and informed approach. The site takes its name from outgoing Hartlepool MP Peter Mandelson's alleged gaffe - which the site admits is probably apocryphal - of mistaking mushy peas for guacamole.

The Sterling Times, on the right of the political spectrum - "a celebration of uncool Britannia" offering an un-PC mix of nostalgia and political debate - was also nominated by several users.

Harry's Place
Harry's Place: A popular destination
Conservative Commentary was praised for its incisive coverage of mainstream Tory politics.

Samizdata.net was described by William Symington, of London, as an "often amusing and always thought-provoking libertarian blog". Monica, of London, said: "The views expressed are fresh, clear and unambiguous. The postings spark lively political debate from commentators across the spectrum and the site itself attracts an average of 8000 readers per day - testament to it's popularity on the net".

Politicsforum.org - which boasts a separate forum for each region of the world, including the UK, was praised for its lively and diverse exchanges and large group of contributors. Jon Melling, of Market Harborough, described it as "more addictive than nicotine".

They Work For You, which allows users to check their MP's voting records and contributions to parliamentary debates, was described by Dominic Mitchell, of Brighton simply as "very cool" and "Hansard done right".

Political betting
Politicalbetting.com offers a different take on UK politics
The Public Whip works along similar lines, allowing you to monitor your MP's appearances in parliament, rebellions against the party whip and even their "possible friends" - MPs with similar voting patterns.

Politicalbetting.com also scored highly with News Online readers. Essentially an online tipping service for anyone who likes an election-time flutter, the site is crammed with analysis and commentary and was praised for providing a "different angle" on the UK political scene.

lynnefeatherstone.org, by the Lib Dem councillor for Haringey and member of the London assembly, was described by Rob, of Croydon as an "excellent mix of local and regional news" and was among nominations for sites by local councillors and prospective parliamentary candidates.

Phil Bateman, a Labour member of Wolverhampton City Council, whose site provides a round-up of local and world news was described by Lorraine Shipton, of Wolverhampton, as "well worth a look".

Next Wednesday: More local sites, your nominations for the best satirical and MPs' websites and some of the more interesting online campaigns to have caught your eye.




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SEE ALSO:
Wales@Westminster weblog
27 Jul 04  |  Wales
Bloggers take message to MPs
15 Jul 03  |  Politics


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