And the Orwell Prize shortlist is…

Well, Long listed for the Orwell is as far as we got, but if you haven’t already read them here’s the shortlist with two of my own favourites for the blog prize, Rangers Tax Case (who’s exceptional work is now coming to fruition) and the intimiable Alex Massie, a Tory blogger that most Scots Nats respect if don’t ever quite agree with… Alex as a Trinity old boy is about the nearest Ireland has to a rep in the final shortlist for any of the three prizes…

Special congratulations to my former Telegraph colleague, Toby Harnden for making the book prize shortlist with Dead Men Risen… The others are…

And the journos:


  • Drumlins Rock

    Your just too good for them Mick!

  • Mick Fealty

    Aye, right! Pretty sure it was my ugly syntax and inconsistent grammar that let us down…

  • Drumlins Rock

    To be honest Slugger isn’t really a blog, but it isn’t a forum either, I like to think it blends the best of both with some extra sparkle thrown in!

  • Pete Baker

    “To be honest Slugger isn’t really a blog…”

    Yes it is, DR.

    It’s a group blog, but it’s still a blog. Despite what some recent recruits may wish to believe…

    Anything else is just a delusion of the ‘kaboodle’.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Pete, that is where Slugger differs from a blog, the comments are usually almost as important as the original post, and occasionally they exceed it, in that manner it is more of a forum, but it still retains much of the more personal touch and well thought out threads you expect from a blog, I actually have more unpublished threads on Slugger than published ones as I thought they wern’t up to scratch.

  • Pete Baker

    “Doomed w’re all DOOMED !”

    Indeed, DR.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Pete, sometimes comments say somthing entirely different from what appears, you have for example the “bumph” comment, will confess the original was exactly that 🙂

  • latcheeco

    I doubt it helped, in competition for a prize named after Orwell,that a thread was posted on Slugger the same week the long list was released suggesting the powers that be were crowing at having the n.i. media in the tank.

  • Mick Fealty

    Which thread was that Latch?

  • latcheeco

    Try: ”Chief Constable on NI Media: “they are part of the confidence-building…”

  • Pete Baker


    You mean this post?

    No, that can’t have helped. Can’t have helped at all…

  • Mick Fealty

    Care to explain Latch? I’ll pick it up in the morning… In the meantime, I’ll leave you to guess the author of this:

    Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

  • latcheeco

    “Care to explain Latch?” Stop pretending to be obtuse

    “Leave you to guess” Jaysus there’s condescension for ye, but i’ll put it down to your age 🙂

    ” to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”
    A mission statement for under the banner if ever there was one

  • Mick Fealty


    I think you’ll find I was responding your own obliqueness… 🙂

    For the record, I don’t think it was a contributory factor one way or the other. We were judged on a set of posts that were pre-submitted before the end of January.

    In fact, I wish I had been able to submit that post. It exactly expresses Slugger’s ongoing value, which is its fierce independence.

    On occasions that independence is tough to live with. We publish stuff I don’t actually agree with, and I don’t mean in the comment zone.

    When Slugger started the news flows were rich with political comment, insight and information, and picking our way through the best stuff was a matter of leaping from nugget to nugget.

    These days, whilst the press are still producing good stuff, the proportion of it generated in the first place by party press offices has grown immensely as staff groups shrink and the cross channel titles redeploy talent elsewhere.

    That makes it a lot harder to find the gold.

    It doesn’t help that one of the consistently best papers in Northern Ireland (i.e. the Irish News) is under permanent lock and key these days. There’s only so many hours in the day you can give towards digging for hidden treasure.

    But the conditioning of journalism by power is a real and ongoing problem. It’s something Orwell absolutely understood in his 1946 essay, Politics and the English Language.

    Now back to why Slugger didn’t make the shortlist. The answer is pretty simple. The judges either thought we weren’t good enough, or that the reasons for keeping all the others on the shortlist were too compelling to exclude any of those that did make the shortlist.

    Either way, I’m more than happy with Slugger’s inclusion in the long list that itself excluded quite a few better known, and possibly better written blogs this year..

    Not bad for an elderly old codger…