Friday, 18 December 2015

Top 100 Tweeting Politics Commentators 2015

The annual roll call of top tweeting comment types has been baiting clicks since 2009, and is probably the only reason why most of you turn up here, like clockwork, at this time of year. I don't mind - honest!

Time to remind readers the rules governing this ludicrous exercise. All below regularly provide comment on UK political affairs via the written word, the telly, the radio, YouTube and what have you. Please note this doesn't include MPs and other prominent politicians, or people who use Twitter exclusively because, let's be honest, anyone can purchase zombie followers and follow tens of thousands of accounts. And, incredible that I have to say this, but every year someone moans about so-and-so not getting included. The list is not organised by quality of comment, politics, or whatever. It's a simple listing of the 100 politics commentators with the most followers. If, in this case, you have fewer than 28,900 followers (or thereabouts) you're not coming in. Simple. Oh, and you have had to have generated political comment at least twice within the last month.

The semi-serious purpose for this list is to record over time how established media figures have colonised and dominated Twitter to the detriment of commentators from outside the professional tent. By all means, check out the distance travelled. Okay, without further ado:

1. (2) Piers Morgan (4.73m followers)
2. (3) Jon Snow (876k followers)
3. (4) Robert Peston (632k followers)
4. (7) Katie Hopkins (609k followers)
5. (5) Nick Robinson (547k followers)
6. (8) Owen Jones (387k followers)
7. (9) Andrew Neil (381k followers)
8. (6) Alastair Campbell (329k followers)
9. (10) Evan Davis (317k followers)
10. (13) Laura Kuenssberg (315k followers)
11. (11) Krishnan Guru-Murthy (294k followers)
12. (NE) Andrew Rawnsley (225k followers)
13. (NE) Kay Burley (223k followers)
14. (12) Mehdi Hasan (217k followers)
15. (NE) Danny Finkelstein (216k followers)
16. (17) Paul Mason (193k followers)
17. (14) Alan Rusbridger (178k followers)
18. (15) Guido Fawkes (172k followers)
19. (18) George Monbiot (145k followers)
20. (19) Polly Toynbee (128k followers)
21. (20) Laurie Penny (123k followers)
22. (21) Mark Steel (118k followers)
23. (24) Fraser Nelson (115k followers)
24. (23) Faisal Islam (111k followers)
25. (27) Cathy Newman (102k followers)
26. (26) Michael Crick (101k followers)
27. (28) Kevin Maguire (96.8k followers)
28. (22) Louise Mensch (94.3k followers)
29. (NE) Niall Ferguson (92.7k followers)
30. (25) Mary Beard (90.7k followers)
31. (33) Tim Montgomerie (86.7k followers)
32. (30) David Aaronovitch (85k followers)
33. (99) Aditya Chakrabortty (84.2k followers)
34. (35) Paul Waugh (80.2k followers)
35. (NE) Maajid Nawaz (79.3k followers)
36. (34) Adam Boulton (78.5k followers)
37. (31) Jack Monroe (75.2k followers)
38. (29) Fleet Street Fox (74.7k followers)
39. (32) Will Black (71.8k followers)
40. (40) James O'Brien (71.1k followers)
41. (37) Iain Dale (67.7k followers)
42. (41) Hugo Rifkind (64k followers)
43. (70) Isabel Hardman (61.2k followers)
44. (38) Peter Tatchell (61k followers)
45. (48) John Rentoul (60.4k followers)
46. (43) Left Foot Forward (60k followers)
47. (39) Will Self (58k followers)
48. (45) Zoe Williams (57.9k followers)
49. (69) Dan Hodges (57.9k followers)
50. (42) Sunny Hundal (57.2k followers)
51. (51) Artist Taxi Driver (54.8k followers)
52. (44) Suzanne Moore (54.4k followers)
53. (NE) Emily Maitlis (51.9k followers)
54. (47) New Economics Foundation (50.2k followers)
55. (53) Andrew Sparrow (49.1k followers)
56. (57) Sophy Ridge (49k followers)
57. (64) Patrick Wintour (49k followers)
58. (46) Helen Lewis (48.6k followers)
59. (56) Harry Cole (48.4k followers)
60. (50) Toby Young (48.2k followers)
61. (49) Gideon Rachman (48.1k followers)
62. (60) LabourList (46.9k followers)
63. (58) Nick Ferrari (46.6k followers)
64. (54) Eoin Clarke (46k followers)
65. (55) Wings Over Scotland (45.7k followers)
66. (74) 38 Degrees (45.6k followers)
67. (62) British Politics and Policy at LSE (43.9k followers)
68. (52) Michael White (43.6k followers)
69. (71) Janet Street-Porter (43.6k followers)
70. (NE) Janan Ganesh (42.9k followers)
71. (NE) Gaby Hinsliff (42.3k followers)
72. (78) James Landale (42.2k followers)
73. (NE) Gary Younge (42.2k followers)
74. (72) Bella Caledonia (41.9k followers)
75. (68) Conservative Home (41.5k followers)
76. (NE) John Pienaar (41.3k followers)
77. (75) Nick Cohen (40.9k followers)
78. (NE) Nick Tyrone (40.9k followers)
79. (NE) Stop the War Coalition (40.7k followers)

80. (85) Allegra Stratton (40.5k followers)
81. (77) openDemocracy (40.5k followers)
82. (61) Political Scrapbook (40.4k followers)
83. (NE) Douglas Murray (40.3k followers)
84. (59) Deborah Orr (39.4k followers)
85. (66) C4 News FactCheck (39k followers)
86. (63) FT Westminster Blog (38.6k followers)
87. (67) The F-Word (37.9k followers)
88. (79) The Fabians (36.4k followers)
89. (87) Bonnie Greer (36.4k followers)
90. (86) Iain Martin (35.4k followers)
91. (81) The Spectator Coffee House (35.2k followers)
92. (NE) Julia Hartley-Brewer (35.1k followers)
93. (80) Isabel Oakeshott (34.8k followers)
94. (73) Caroline Criado-Perez (34.3k followers)
95. (83) Danny Blanchflower (34k followers)
96. (94) Tim Shipman (33.5k followers)
97. (91) Richard Murphy (33k followers)
98. (76) Demos (32.5k followers)
99. (92) Alex Andreou (32.5k followers)
100. (93) Sam Coates (32.5k followers)

The independent commentator, motivated by the desire to proselytise opinions for their own sake, is pretty much dead as far as this list goes. A few who worked their way up through their own vehicle before signing on with an established news/paper/magazine outfit are about, but (next to) no one does it just for the love anymore. Still, I suppose it was inevitable. And there's still the top 100 list of indie tweeters coming up on New Year's Day!

New entries-wise, there's nothing too surprising compared with last year. Most are journos who, for whatever reason, had been overlooked in the past. Though I will note the huge leap made by The Graun's Aditya Chakrabortty - to move up 69 places in a field that doesn't see large movements is something of an achievement. But the main story is sclerosis. Few have stayed in the same position as last year, but that's because a couple of highly placed folks have thrown in the towel. For instance, last year's number one - Russell Brand - has ditched his Trews show and thereby his qualification for this list. I bet he's gutted.

Also of interest is how blokey the list is. Of the hundred only 25 are women, which is just one more than last year. 15 are group blogs/sites and the rest are men. 10 are from BME backgrounds, which is about approaching proportionality vis a vis the wider population (and up from six last year), and six - as far as I'm aware - self identify as LGBT (up three).

And that's it for 2015. If I have made an egregious error, which is more or less inevitable, please let me know and I'll update the list.

Update 20/12: Okay, so there were some pretty glaring omissions. You will now find Andrew Rawnsley, Danny Finkelstein, Niall Ferguson, Janan Ganesh, and Julia Hartley-Brewer added t'list. Many thanks to Isabel Oakeshott and Jonathan Anthony for pointing me in their direction. Jon also pointed out a number of others. One, the infamous Milo Yiannopoulos misses the cut because he hasn't done any politics commentary this last month as far as I'm aware. Ditto for Tony Parsons. The others were sundry Islamophobes who were short on the politics and big on the hate, so no. 

Update 22/12: A couple more that got missed - please find John Pienaar at 76 and Gaby Hinsliff at 71.


Anonymous said...

Interesting that the only ones which don't get invited to comment on tv / radio regularly are mostly pro-scottish independence...

Jonny Morris said...

Amazing to see the change in numbers since 2009 - I would have made the top 100!

jim mclean said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"Interesting that the only ones which don't get invited to comment on tv / radio regularly are mostly pro-scottish independence"

Think about TV - They have an obligation to provide a service for the whole population. Scotland represents 8% of the population with the majority rejecting seperation, so pro independence bloggers representing under 4% are probably getting the correct ratio of talk time. Now compare the coverage UKIP get in Scotland, nowhere near there support and they are no platformed while the SWP are welcome. Finally, as Scottish Workers and Local Authorities crack under Holyrood's austerity and diversion of resources to their core middle class supporters, the Socialist Party have announced that the coming protests and industrial actions are against Westminster while those participating are well aware it is the Scottish Government that is hammering local services and still returning a massive underspend. Pro Scottish Independence twatters, to retain their followers must suppress the hardship caused by the SNP.

Ferdinand said...

2009 I was number 6 in the list, and in it until 2011, which perhaps proves that Followers has always been meaningless as we all knew. But media people are stupid with numbers and require simple measurements.

Interesting that Sunny and Dr Eoin are still there, but Murphaloon continues to be nowhere in sight.

Ferdinand said...

I'd better correct that - Murphaloon us indeed there, as is Wings. So Twitter has a Twilight of the Trolls faction (Sunny excluded).

Darren Laverty said...

Morgan? WTF. Dare any person claim to read that twat