This is faintly awkward for me, so I put it right there in the headline – leading with my chin, so to speak.

I run this blog for a number of reasons:

  • It’s a discipline – it forces me to think about the political news flow;
  • I am, in principle, in favour of deepening political debate – the more forums, the more people think about politics, and the more subtle and complex those thoughts are, the better for all of us;
  • It fulfils a personal need for an audience – I’ll deal with that with my shrink if I ever get one again …
  • and I use it to market myself to people who might pay me for my services as a political analyst or speaker.

It is the last need that causes me to mention here that I was, to my great surprise, last week announced as the top ranked analyst in the Financial Mail annual Analyst of the Year Survey – in the category: Political Analysis and Industrial Relations.

Here’s the whole “leader board”:

I am particularly proud of this award for several reasons, but these are the important two:

First, the rank is determined by a vote from South African fund managers at the pensions funds and asset managers. These are professionals who have to pay for the analysis and assess its financial value to them and their businesses. It’s a vote I value.

Second, I am in auspicious company – even though some people on the list are not primarily “political analysts”. I don’t know them all (and will only mention the ones I do), but I am a great admirer of Moeletsi Mbeki (as anyone who reads this blog will know) – and Deanne Gordon and Nazmeera Moola are valuable and supportive friends, top economists and thorough and original thinkers (and have both been highly ranked in many categories in this survey in the past).