The Fourth Annual Satin Pajama Awards

I hereby announce The Fourth Annual Satin Pajama Awards. You can nominate blogs in the comments to this post.

The purpose of the awards is to recognize the efforts and contributions of Europe’s many talented bloggers, to maybe help build a sense of community among us, and, more than anything, it’s a chance for people to discover lots of new good blogs.

A blog is eligible if it’s written by Europeans or has a European (Czech, Catalan…) theme. Our own blogs aren’t eligible. Finalists are chosen based on the number of nominations as well as editorial discretion. So you want to nominate a favorite blog even if someone else already mentioned it.

Please specify the category and provide a URL or link. We don’t have the time to track down blogs.

The polls will open sometime in April.

Nominees for Best Southeastern European Weblog
Nominees for Best CIS blog
Nominees for Best Writing
Nominate Best Culture Weblog
Nominees for Best Personal Weblog
Nominate Best New Weblog
Nominees for Best European Weblog Overall
Nominate Best Political Weblog
Nominate Most Underappreciated Weblog
Nominees for Best Humor Blog
Nominees for Best German Blog
Nominees for Best French Weblog
Nominate Best UK Blog
Nominees for Best Expat Blog
Nominate Best Academic Weblog

Best Political Weblog
Best Non-European Weblog
Best New Weblog
Best Humorous Weblog
Best Weblog By An Expatriate:
Best Culture Weblog
Best Expat Blog
Most Underappreciated Weblog
Best Writing
Best Personal Weblog
Best Expert or Scholar Weblog
The 2008 Satin Pajama for Lifetime Achievement
Best Weblog in Europe

Best Weblog From North Western Europe (The British Isles and the Nordic countries)
Best Weblog From Continental Western Europe
Best CIS Weblog
Best Southeastern European Weblog
Best Central European Weblog

Best French Weblog
Best German Weblog

Blogroll bleg

We’re looking for a few good blogs.

If you’ve been paying close attention, you might have noticed our blogroll is changing. We haven’t cleaned it in a while, and link rot has set in — some blogs have stopped posting, some have moved, some just aren’t around any more.

Cleaning the links is the first step. The second is to find exciting! new! blogs to add to the roster. For this, we could use your help.

So: we’re looking for interesting blogs about matters European. Cast your nets wide, readers — we’d rather have too many links than too few.

For your convenience, our categories are listed below the fold. Continue reading

Quiet Riot

Quietly, there seems to be a tiny crisis affecting European politics. For a start, there’s the rocambolesque imbroglio making Belgium a generic cynosure. It would be hard to do better than to point again to Crooked Timber, although it’s worth pointing out that Jean Quatremer is doing a good job too. I especially like the quote from the Flemish prime minister about the 40,000 Flemish hunters (or light infantrymen – the context is missing and the word is the same) who can defend Flanders in the event of civil war; now that’s what I call statesmanlike.

Of course, nothing of the sort is going to happen – in fact, if you wanted my prediction I’d say nothing at all will happen. Belgium may consist only of the King, the army, a football team, some diplomats and taxmen, and the capital, but that’s more than the Austro-Hungarian Empire had in the way of central institutions. In fact the similarities are marked; the overlapping divisions, competing governments, large and permanently different capital city. But whatever happens, the result won’t be the first world war, or for that matter the end of the European Union. Whatever the collectif antiliberale says about it.

Apparently it’s all a neoliberal plot to destroy the EU and socialism, based on this FT thinkpiece. Sadly, Jerome seems to have missed a bit:

the vital importance of a functioning EU to the continent’s stability and prosperity

And another one:

Democratic pragmatists, who support European integration as a means to enhancing national interests rather than as an end in itself, can plausibly argue that their vision of the EU has never been more relevant. If the Flemish and Walloons do unhook from each other, they can quickly hook back into the EU as separate entities bound by common European values. The very existence of the EU allows us to contemplate a resurgence in national sentiment without fear of violence or confrontation. In the context of Europe’s past, that is no small achievement.

No hostile paraphrasing there, eh.

Of course, Robin Shepherd is right – it’s precisely why we need the EU. I would expect that nobody will notice very much difference even if Belgium is abolished; funny little nationalisms are a luxury a continent where borders are meant to be irrelevant can afford.

Meanwhile, a million miles away (well, it feels like it..), Britain may be about to have another spasm of Euro-politics. The European issue in Britain has traditionally swung across the political spectrum, like a cow on a rolling deck, blundering into political parties and sending them flying like skittles. To kick off in the 1940s, Ernest Bevin as Labour Foreign Secretary was keen on the proto-Euroinstitutions, the OEEC, the European Payments Union, and NATO, and the idea of Europe as a “third force”, but was opposed by the Labour Left who thought the “same old gang” were behind the Schuman Plan, trying to get their hands on the nationalised coal industry.

Then in the 50s, there was a split in both parties – the Tories were unenthusiastic until MacMillan, but always had strong European and diehard imperial tendencies. Then, a period of consensus around the three applications to join. Then, in the 70s and early 80s, the Labour Party swung back against, before the 1988 Policy Review espoused “social Europe”. The Conservatives, meanwhile, passed Labour in ’88 going the other way, from ratifying the Single European Act of 1987 to the Eurosceptic wars of 1990-1997. It looks like the issue is about to crash into Labour again, but the ricochets will be widespread.

What has happened? Well, some of the trade unions are keen on holding a referendum on the not-constitutional treaty, and are deploying the same arguments as the Tories for it (it’s really the same thing, Blair promised one on the constitution, &c). But their reasoning is opposite; they are concerned about the bits about free trade from the Treaty of Rome. They’re hoping for a non de gauche, having seen what a triumph this was for their comrades in France. Of course, the problem with the entire argument is that turning down the treaty won’t reverse this, as it’s the status quo.

At the same time, the Conservatives are in favour of a referendum, because they think it’s something even they could win. (Yes, it’s harsh. Harsh, but fair.) And so are the Liberal Democrats; who probably don’t think they could win, but feel that it would be best to support a referendum. Not just any old referendum, though, but an all-out balls-to-the-wall one on British membership of the EU.

Risky, no? Not that anyone’s listening. Even if the only time this was done, the pro-membership side won convincingly, and every government that has been elected since 1970 has been more or less supportive of the EU, this positively frightens me. The upshot? The Prime Minister may be tempted to shoot the fox; more like sweep the whole field with a machine gun. That would be achieved by calling an election with ratification as a manifesto commitment; which may just have become more likely.

Winners of the Third Annual Satin Pajama Awards

Here are the winners of the Third Annual Satin Pajama Awards.

Best Writing: Le Blagueur à Paris
Best Weblog from the UK: Johnny Billericay
Best Weblog about Southeastern Europe: Balkan Baby
Best Weblog about the CIS: New Eurasia
Best Expatriate Weblog: Isoglossia
Best Personal Weblog: Petite Anglaise
Best Political Weblog: Slugger O’ Toole
Best Weblog from Germany: Ahoi Polloi
Best Weblog from France: Eolas
Best Culture Weblog: DA…NCE
Best Non-European Weblog: Pharyngula
Best Expert or Scholar Weblog: Real Climate
Best Economics Weblog: New Economist
Best Food Weblog: Chocolate and Zucchini
Most Underappreciated Weblog: Kosmopolit
Best New Weblog: Not Saussure
The 2007 Satin Pajama for Lifetime Achievement: Mick Fealty, founder of Slugger O’Toole.

And finally…

Best European Weblog of 2007: Petite Anglaise

You can still see all the finalists and their share of votes on the poll page. They’re all worth a visit.
I again thank Michael Manske and Clive Matthews for helping out.

Congratulations, everyone!

The Third Annual Satin Pajama Awards

I should give people a last chance to suggest blogs for the stin pajama awards.

The purpose of the awards is to recognize the efforts and contributions of Europe’s many talented bloggers, to maybe help build a sense of community among us, and, more than anything, it’s a chance for people to discover lots of new good blogs.

A blog is eligible if it’s written by Europeans or has a European (Czech, Catalan…) theme. Our own blogs aren’t eligible. Finalists are chosen based on the number of nominations as well as editorial discretion. So you want to nominate a favorite blog even if someone else already mentioned it.

The polls will open on Tuesday May 22.

Nominees for Best Southeastern European Weblog
Nominees for Best CIS blog
Nominees for Best Writing
Nominate Best Culture Weblog
Nominees for Best Personal Weblog
Nominate Best New Weblog
Nominees for Best European Weblog Overall
Nominate Best Political Weblog
Nominate Most Underappreciated Weblog
Nominees for Best Humor Blog
Nominees for Best German Blog
Nominees for Best French Weblog
Nominate Best UK Blog
Nominees for Best Expat Blog
Nominate Best Academic Weblog

General Management

You may have noticed that the Satin Pajama Awards back in February. First my job got in the way, then my computer died, then I moved to a new city, and, well, I never got back on track, until now. They’ll be held on Tuesday May 15 22.

Nosemonkey’s doing his fourth euroblog roundup.

Still some time left for the reader survey. C’mon people, it’s not that long if you skip all those vodka questions.

2007 blog reader survey

If you’ve already taken the blog reader survey on another blog, your answers will be applied to this blog too if you click the link (and you’re on the same computer, with cookies enabled), so please give us three seconds of your time.

If you haven’t taken the survey, do it if you got some time to spare. The full survey takes about 12 minutes, but you can skip the later questions if you like.

…The idea is to support blogads and by extension blogging itself, as well as satisfying our curiosity. Some questions won’t apply to the Europeans among us.