Skip to main content

The point of blogging

It is now nearly two years since I started blogging, firstly as a General Election candidate, and then after the election on this site.

The initial purpose was to share experiences about the campaign, which were by and large both positive and fun. When I began to blog here, I initially took a pretty broad remit, to talk about things that interested me from a broadly Liberal perspective. I wrote about books and authors that interested me, about places and in particular about Central and Eastern Europe and about British politics.

Since I have a senior role in an investment bank, working in Central and Eastern Europe, I have preferred to write anonymously, although many, if not most, in the blogosphere know who I am. Indeed I have twice been invited onto Iain Dale's 18 Doughty Street programme, so away from my professional life, I am not too worried about being "outed".

Over time, although I rarely have time to blog every day, I have come to concentrate more on political and the central and eastern European issues- not least because I believe that the UK can learn a great deal from the changes that have taken place in the post-Communist world and the social and economic changes that the Liberal revolutions have brought about.

The blog is not widely read- I get a couple of thousand hits a month, but the kinds of people who read it- judging from the Stat Counter results -are quite diverse. Only about half of the readers are British, and most are quite regular readers. Some are clearly Lib Dem activists, many are students. I also see regular readers in Parliament, the Scottish Parliament and the European Parliament. I have tended not to link to other sites- not out of policy, simply because I am a very slow learner on things techie, and so the bulk of readers either come directly or through Lib Dem blogs aggregated.

About a quarter of the readership is American- and I have been linked by Carnival of the Liberals twice in recent months. Perhaps not surprisingly I have regular readers in the Baltic countries, Poland, Hungary, Romania and various other CEE states. I also seem to have regular readers in Canada and New Zealand. So, although many will not accept the Stat Counter cookie, I have information about roughly 60% of the readers.

While I have been travelling, I notice that there has been an outbreak of venom in the blogosphere. Guido Fawkes has always had a bit of fun going for the throat, but when Tim Ireland attacked him for some of the things that he had written, I had a bit of sympathy. I met Guido and he struck me as a mildly subversive but slightly nihilist libertarian. However the after effects of this spat in the blogosphere was interesting. On the 18 Doughty Street show I put forward the view that Guido was a nihilist and did sometimes overstep the mark. This got conflated in other peoples minds with an attack by Iain on Tim Ireland- "isn't Tim a nihilist too?" (short answer no). This stirred up a general attack on Iain Dale, which was not really justified- Iain says that he does not actually know what a nihilist is! So, the blogosphere has been rocked by a total storm in a teacup.

I am reminded of Henry Kissinger once on being asked why academic disputes were conducted with such venom, he replied: "because the stakes are so low". Lets face it, blogging is still a small scale activity, and while we are in the growth phase now, there will inevitably come a crash and in the wreckage a smaller number of blogs will remain for the long term.

I intend to keep up this blog for was long as I think I am saying something interesting. At the moment I think that I maybe write something reasonable about once or twice a month- frankly the same sort of hit rate that a dead tree columnist does.

I try not to be the kind of pub bore that Yasmin Alibhai Brown thinks dominates the blogosphere, but reading her columns, she has plenty of off days too. Blogs may have the capacity to democratise the commentariat- a process as welcome as I think it is necessary. Sure there is discourtesy and venom out there, and looking at the US, this may not be a good trend for British politics to follow. However I hope that my blog will be outward looking, reasonably informed and hopefully occasionally even interesting. Certainly I try to respond to people with a different point of view to mine with reasonable politeness- after all I am friendly with people of all parties and of none.

So the agenda remains: Liberalism and Liberty, and I shall devote my time to that and not the trivial personal spats within the blogosphere.

Comments

David L said…
Please would you check your private messages in Liberalism 2010?

Thanks

David L
Etzel Pangloss said…
Dear Cicero,

I wouldn't read blogs if folk like you didn't write them...

Popular posts from this blog

Cicero ReDux

By Special Request of Baroness Scott and Mark Valladares... Cicero's Songs returns: bigger, longer and uncut.
October 1st marked the half way point of the Estonian Presidency of the European Union.  Perhaps for many people such an anniversary is of passing interest at best.  Yet the conduct of the Estonian Presidency is reinforcing just how forward looking and innovative the most northerly of the Baltic States has become.
Estonia is a country that wants to live in the future, and with its openness and innovation, that future seems a lot closer than almost anywhere else in Europe
It is not that Estonia does not “do” the past: the picturesque cobbled streets of old Tallinn have tourist crowds a-plenty enjoying the mediaeval architecture in an Indian summer of sunshine and blue skies.  The real point is that Estonia refuses to be a prisoner of its past. Lennart Meri, Estonia’s President in the 1990s- who spent years of his childhood in Siberia- once told me that the country had to conc…

Trump and Brexit are the Pearl Harbor and the Fall of Singapore in Russia's Hybrid war against the West.

In December 1941, Imperial Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States at Pearl Harbor. After the subsequent declaration of war, within three days, the Japanese had sunk the British warships, HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse, and the rapid Japanese attack led to the surrender of Hong Kong on Christmas Day 1941 and the fall of Singapore only two months after Pearl Harbor. These were the opening blows in the long war of the Pacific that cost over 30,000,000 lives and was only ended with the detonations above Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

"History doesn't often repeat itself, but it rhymes" is an aphorism attributed to Mark Twain, and in a way it seems quite appropriate when we survey the current scene. 

In 1941, Imperial Japan, knowing its own weakness, chose a non-conventional form of war, the surprise attack. Since the end of his first Presidential term, Vladimir Putin, knowing Russia's weakness, has also chosen non-conventional ways to promote his domestic powe…

The American National nightmare becomes a global nightmare

It is a basic contention of this blog that Donald J Trump is not fit for office.

A crooked real estate developer with a dubious past and highly questionable finances. he has systematically lied his way into financial or other advantage. His personal qualities include vulgarity, sexual assault allegations and fraudulent statements on almost every subject. 

He lost the popular vote by nearly three million votes.

He has, of course, been under criminal investigation practically since before he took the oath of office. The indictment of some of closest advisers is just the beginning. His track record suggests that in due course there is no action he will not take, whether illegal or unconstitutional in order to derail his own inevitable impeachment and the indictments that must surely follow the successful investigation of Robert Mueller into his connections with Russia.

However, all of that is a matter for the American people. 

It is also a matter for the American people that Trump is cheating…