» General ¦ What You Can Get Away With

If you’ve visited here over the last couple of days you might have had a problem when visiting some outbound links and seeing them redirected through another site (vindicosuite). I noticed it today, and a bit of googling suggests the problem is being caused by the Sitemeter tracking button, so I’ve removed that and it should hopefully mean the problem won’t occur. From what I can see it was just a bit of redirection of links through another site and nothing involving viruses or malware, but if you do have any problems please let me know. Apologies for any trouble caused to anyone by it, and please let me know if this or anything similar recurs.

123rf-apology-button-free-300x180There occasionally comes to every long term blogger a time when you realise that you’e made a huge and colossal mistake. Not a simple error that’s easily edited away or corrected before anyone can notice, but a massive mistake of judgement that would cause anyone who sees it to instantly think less of you as a person. When you realise that you’ve made such a mistake, the only honourable course of action is to hold your hands up, admit that you were fundamentally wrong and throw yourself on the mercy of your readership, hoping you will get a second chance.

That’s where I am today. In two recent posts (here and especially here – I apologise for the title, obviously) I have made horrendous errors that I must apologise for. These were errors in my fundamental assumptions about how the world works, and as such I need to rethink my position on a lot of things before posting on this subject.

Yes, it is true. I assumed England possessed at least a basic level of competence at playing cricket and so would be able to qualify for the quarter-finals of the World Cup. I was fundamentally wrong to believe this and assert it here on this website, and I apologise to those of you who had to read such obvious nonsense with no basis in reality. I can only say that I hope to do better in future and not to make such ridiculous errors and assumptions again.

Now, here’s why England will definitely win the Rugby World Cup…

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I only returned to proper regular blogging in July of this year, when I started my series of Conrad Russell and liberalism posts, but it’s been a good year of blogging overall. I’ve got some attention since I’ve come back – I’m apparently the 7th most influential ‘other’ blog in the UK, though still not a political one according to Teads – and also picked up a nomination for Liberal Democrat Blog of the Year (which went to the much more deserving Jonathan Calder).

Thanks to everyone who visited, read, commented, linked or otherwise interacted with the blog during 2014, and hopefully 2015 will see a whole year of regular posting, not just six months of it. Let’s see what the most popular posts of 2014 were, shall we?

10) There’s been at least one former Prime Minister in Parliament since 1756, but could that end next year? – This came from a random thought that struck me after Gordon Brown announced his retirement, and the research for it didn’t take as long as I thought it would. Even if it doesn’t happen this year, I suspect the changing nature of the House of Lords and the tendency of former PMs to not hang around the Commons mean it won’t be long before it does.
9) The tribalism of the One True Party is why people are turned off by politics – One thing I’ve been thinking a lot over the last few months is how party politics in the UK is very close to being utterly broken. This is just one symptom of it: the passionate intensity some believe in their cause with.
8) A few thoughts on UKIP vote shares and their chances in 2015 – Written before the Carswell defection, so outdated in some respects, but I do think there’s an interesting avenue of study in the effects of differential turnouts.
7) Something Must Be Done About Boris – I’ve noticed that public attitudes towards Boris appear to have been shifting over the past few months, as though people are beginning to see through the ‘LOL Boris’ act to the naked ambition and repulsive views that hide underneath. This post looks at how he casually suggested getting rid of the presumption of innocence, part of that tarnishing he’s brought upon himself.
6) Presidential questions response: Daisy Cooper – The 2014 Liberal Democrat presidential election generated a lot of attention over the last few months, and even though Daisy didn’t win, she did get more people reading her responses to my questions than any of the other candidates. I was impressed by Daisy’s ability to come up with detailed responses to my questions in such a short time.
5) My presidential manifesto – The post that generated the questions to the candidates, and misinterpreted by at least one person on Twitter who insisted that I shouldn’t stand for the position. I think the problems I highlighed here are still a problem with the party, and are something that needs to be addressed before wider voting for all party posts comes in – I’m not alone in wanting to see people say what they actually mean rather than hide behind boilerplate ‘hard working campaigner’ descriptions and vaguely coded rhetoric.
4) Have I Got News For You makes history – but far too late #HIGNFY – I’ve been maintaining my spreadsheet on the gender breakdown of HIGNFY guests for a while, so it was an obviously an interesting moment when the show had its first episode with a majority of women on screen, and the first all-female guest line-up since 1997. Unfortunately, this was the high point of the current series, and a chance to set a whole set of firsts was missed.
3) Worth reading extra: on #DRIP – The Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act was rushed through Parliament because Something Had To Be Done, and sadly Liberal Democrats acquiesced in that process. This post was an attempt to gather together a bunch of information on DRIP, and why we didn’t need it, in an ultimately doomed effort to slow down that rush.
2) How did workism conquer the world? – An idea and a post that had been gestating for a while, so I’m glad it got a lot of attention and appeared to strike a chord with many people. I do need to do some more thinking and writing about workism as a concept, and how we can fight against it, but I do think this is an interesting introduction to the concept.

And so, my most popular post of 2014 was:

1) Liberal Democrats for Basic Income, anyone? – Linked to the idea of workism (and only just beating it to the number one spot by a handful of views), this did reveal I’m not alone in thinking that the idea of a basic income could be what liberalism needs to reinvent itself for the twenty-first century. Now we just have to move on and try and make it happen.

One again, thanks to the small football stadium-filling number of you that visited the blog over the past twelve months and I’m glad you found what I write to be of some interest. Hopefully, I’ll continue to keep that interest during 2015.

According to Google Analytics, these were the five posts offered in tribute that got the most readers for the last three months of 2014:

5) Lib Dem Voice got the presidential race badly wrong, and it raises questions about their surveys – And yet they still continue to headline their surveys with ‘Lib Dem members think’
4) There’s been at least one former Prime Minister in Parliament since 1756, but could that end next year? – If David Cameron stays as PM, and none of Brown, Major or Blair join the Lords, a 259 year-old tradition will end.
3) The tribalism of the One True Party is why people are turned off by politics – Prompted by a Labour member, but applies to members of all parties.
2) Have I Got News For You makes history – but far too late #HIGNFY – The first ever episode of Have I Got News For You with more women than men on screen aired.

Which means the most popular post of the last three months was…

1) Liberal Democrats for Basic Income, anyone? – ‘Yes’ was the answer, apparently.

Thanks to everyone who visited, and there’ll be a post looking back at the most popular posts of the year going up soon. There might even be some original content in the next few days too, if you’re really lucky.

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Keeping with my policy of only adopting useful ways of promotion years after everyone else has done, I now have a Facebook Page for this blog. You can like it and hopefully get updates of when there are new posts and, of course, to show yourself to have a certain level of taste and discernment in your choice of blogs to read.

Of course, there are still lots of other ways to find out if I’ve posted something new – following me on Twitter or Google+, subscribing via email using the little box at the top right, via the RSS feed, or even just coming to the website occasionally to see.

xmas2014
I’m unlikely to get the time to any blogging for the next week, so I hope you all have an enjoyable time, and I’ll see you all in a week or so for what’ll probably be some looking back at 2014 and ahead to 2015.

A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA – Be warned, this story does describe some pretty horrible incidents, but it’s worth reading for the exposure of how rape culture is permitted by institutional power.
On Countering The UKIP Cri-De-Colon – “if you’re not prepared to defend what are supposedly your defining principles for fear of losing just one election, you might as well pack up the whole party and leave politics to the bigots.”
“Immigration” is not “immigrant” – Andrew Hickey on why pandering to bigots isn’t even addressing the root cause of their complaints.
The Disappearing Sea – How the Aral Sea dried up, and what it left behind.
They refused to fight – A great piece by Jim Jepps on the experience of conscientious objectors during the First World War.

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