Not quite the Oscars

You wait for ages for a blog award, and two come along at once. Well one award and one nod, but a sufficiently prestigious nod for it to feel like an award after Heresy Corner has, like Kate Winslet, languished for too long without even a nomination.

Yesterday the Heresiarch was bemused to find himself the recipient of a "Worthy Vanilla" award courtesy of the Belgian-based S&M blog Spanked Hortic. Previous winners (there have been only two) are Tim Berners-Lee, whose World Wide Web has done so much turn a disparate group of fetish enthusiasts into an international community; and the inventor of a gel-filled bicycle seat which has enabled many a submissive to cycle home from a spanking in relative comfort. Truly, I am not worthy. Indeed, I find it hard to see what my contribution to kinkdom has been, apart from taking more interest in the Max Mosley case than was probably good for me, and offering this space last week to the delightful Pandora.

The award comes complete with a (sadly incorporeal) cup inscribed "Thank you from the Heart of our Bottoms".

Rather more substantial, perhaps, is the inaugural George Orwell Prize for Blogs, which joins the well-established awards for political journalism and books. I received an invitation to "let my name go forward" some months ago and was asked to submit ten posts I was especially proud of. Such a procedure is bound to be self-selecting: in the event, around 85 fellow bloggers made a similar effort, with several of my personal favourites abstaining. Still, there were some fairly major names among the entrants, and I'm more than satisfied to find Heresy Corner making the long-list of twelve.

Here are some of the pathetic losers leading bloggers who didn't make the cut:

Archbishop Cranmer
Alex Hilton
Danny Finkelstein
Justin Webb
Melanie Phillips
Nick Robinson
Old Holborn


Still, enough about me. What of the competition? It's a mixed bag. The biggest name still in the competition, blog-wise, is probably Iain Dale. There are also two top BBC types, Mark Easton and Paul Mason, and Oliver Kamm, now of the Times. So no pressure. Joining them are a couple of top-flight Labour bloggers, Tom Harris MP (who blogs far too much for a serving MP, in my humble) and Hopi Sen. And there's a leavening of small fry, among whom I suppose I must count myself.

The name I'm most pleased to see on the list - and my tip, for what it's worth - is Alix Mortimer, a liberal democrat wholly worthy of the name (which these days is rare enough to be worth celebrating in itself). Too much to single out for praise, but here she is on the trouble the Lib Dems have with the mainstream media - and how they ended up sending automated nuisance calls to potential voters:

Journalistic writing is necessarily a pigeon-holing exercise. They have to relate one thing to another, make links between different events and concepts, to build up the newspaper’s outlook - a macrocosm of how an individual arrives at their worldview, really. Which is fine, so long as the key political concept you’re trying to advance is something journalists already recognise and have a label for. But they just don’t - en masse anyway - have one for liberalism. Their instinctive, natural grasp of what liberalism means is lacking. ...

Liberalism as a wider political movement has been splintered into environmentalism, pacificism, alternative living and the like more or less since the 1960s, and in abeyance as a high political creed for a century partly as a result. As individuals, journalists have lived through an era in which high politics is dominated by the twin blocs of socialism versus conservatism. No wonder they try to wodge our radical liberalism into mid-20th century Labour and Tory loaf tins. They’ve never known anything else. Most of them have never bothered learning anything else (this is what comes of studying Eng Lit at university instead of history).

I can relate to that. It's also why the mainstream press has been so blindsighted by New Labour's relentless authoritarianism, and were so confused by David Davis.

My other favourite on the list is Night Jack, a decent policeman with sensible ideas who regularly and brilliantly exposes the disastrous politicisation of the force. Another cause for celebration. Here he is on Jacqui Smith's recent embarrassment:

Home Secretary Klebb is arranging her expense claims in a way that would raise eyebrows amidst the bean counters in Alterdale or Smallmarket. Shocking. Who would have guessed that as she arbitrarily pulled the rug on back-dating our pay rise, she was quietly trousering her own allowances to the max. There’s restraint in public pay for you. Nice to see Ms Klebb stinting herself in the cause of the public purse that she holds so dear. Still I am not bitter. Multiple rules and plastic principles have been the order of the day in the higher reaches of public service for some years now.

That's the sort of Met Commissioner we need.

A distinguished panel of media insiders will now whittle the list down to a final six in a months' time. I don't expect Heresy Corner to be among them. But still, this is most gratifying.


asquith said…
Who distinguished this "panel of media insiders", then?

I am glad to see you on the list, even though my vote would still go to Mortimer were I to have one. I am profoundly unsure about some of the candidates & think the longlist could have been better, but there you go.

Am hoping this gets you more attention & that & possibly a voice in the MSM (though since you're anonymous, I might well have read your pieces already for all I know!?)

Funnily enough, re: the people you named who weren't longlisted, I have a very low opinion of them all. Would have punched myself in the face repeatedly if any of them had got the nomination.
The Heresiarch said…
Profoundly unsure? In what way? I was unsure who some of them even were.
Wasp_Box said…
Congrats on your "Heart of our Bottoms" award. Jolly well deserved too!

I'm glad to see you on t'other list as well. If you don't win you, at least, deserve a place. Your blog is the first thing I read in the morning and it's always thought-provoking and well-written. So... whatever the outcome, thank you for making my day a bit more interesting.
Edwin Moore said…
Congratulations Heresiarch on the award of the cup image; am quite relieved it wasn't a pic of, er, Pandora's Box.

Seriously, many congrats on the shortlisting. I now visit about 12 blogs and the thing about Heresy Corner is not just that it is entertaining (has to be a given) but that I often find out something new and surprising.

Well done mate - and thanks for the two recommendations. Have just dipped in and think both Alix and the rozzer may become regular haunts - excellent.
septicisle said…
Hearty congratulations. For the most part an excellent list too; Mason's blog especially is outstanding. Here's to hoping you get the nod...
"I find it hard to see what my contribution to kinkdom has been, apart from taking more interest in the Max Mosley case than was probably good for me, and offering this space last week to the delightful Pandora."

Mostly it was for taking an open minded approach and doing a good job of finding out about us rather than pre judging us, which is what we usually get from most outsiders.

Good luck with The Orwell Prize, I have only just started reading the listed posts there but am looking forward to reading more.

Anonymous said…
Hello from one of your companions in the shoal of fry. Met Commissioner wouldn't suit me at all though; too much politics and not enough coppering. Good luck with the final sift.
Cranmer's Curate said…
My favourite post of yours was the one about the TV vicar with a taste for pagan worship. Please keep exposing liberal ecclesiastical cant - it's most helpful for Evangelical Christianity.

Congratulations on being long-listed Sir.

Kind regards,

Julian Mann

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