» General ¦ What You Can Get Away With

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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Victory in Europe – What Cameron and Osborne actually negotiated and agreed over the UK’s contribution to the EU.
Leadership in question – Good piece by Chris Dillow on how the search for strong leaders is a search for a false god. The one thing rarer than talent is the ability to spot talent.”
A Few Questions About the Culture: An Interview with Iain Banks – What it says on the title, really: talking in depth with Iain Banks about how the idea of the Culture developed in his work.
How to waste a staggering £15bn – David Boyle has some interesting facts about transport policy.
Dark vistas – A rather bleak, but possibly accurate, look forward to the next election and the Parliament that follows it from Lewis Baston.

And for your bonus video this time, if you haven’t seen Too Many Cooks yet, you’re possibly still sane.

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According to Teads, I’m currently the 177th most influential blog in the UK. (And at the dizzying heights of 11th amongst ‘other’ blogs) I say this purely to gloat about my massive power, which is as real and absolute as those massive amounts of cash that someone just emailed you about.

I shall of course be leveraging this influence into a series of books about how to be one of the Big 200 Bloggers. Each book will contain exactly the same advice as the last, but will have a slightly different picture of a smug hipster at a laptop on the cover and will have been put through a thesaurus to ensure it at least looks slightly different each time. Those of you really dedicated to wasting your money may want to come to one of my exclusive blogging seminars where I will lay out my Fundamental Laws Of Successful Blogging and much else besides in a bizarrely long PowerPoint presentation. I intend to thoroughly blur the lines between ‘exploitative seminar aimed at the gullible’ and ‘hostage situation’.

With the tens of pounds I’ve earned from this sitting nicely in my bank account, I’ll then go on to become a multimedia presence, launching a podcast (those are still a thing, right?) in which I read out my blog posts in an attempt at an amusing voice, and for wacky hijinks, occasionally read out other people’s and claim they’re mine. It’s only plagiarism if you’re not doing it ironically. The YouTube channel to follow that up is inevitable, and I’ll definitely be coming up with an interesting concept for that after I’ve inflicted a few dozen videos on you all.

So, it’s entirely onwards and upwards from here, or at least until such time as they revise their methodology and place me back in 1836th place.

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I’ve just added WordPress’s Jetpack plugin to the site, which should make it easier for people to comment and like posts, as well as making it easier for me to share posts and get stats about my site. It also means you can now subscribe to the blog and get notifications of new posts via email by using the box on the sidebar at the right.

As ever, whenever I add something new to here there’s a good chance I’ll have broken something else in the process, so please let me know if you see anything that’s not right. Though if it’s in the content of posts, that’s probably nothing to do with Jetpack.


Yesterday I discovered that I’d been nominated for Liberal Democrat Blog of the Year. It was a bit of a surprise – partly because I found out from the questions Lib Dem Voice – but an entirely welcome one.

Unfortunately, I can’t be in Glasgow for Conference this year, so I won’t be able to be at the awards ceremony which I’m sure will be as glittering as packed full of celebrities as it has been in previous years. I’d like to take this chance to thank everyone who nominated me, and encourage those of you who can and who haven’t done it yet to go and fill in the LDV survey. You can even vote for me if you like. (At this point, Leonard Cohen’s ‘First We Take Manhattan’, specifically ‘you loved me as a loser, but now you’re worried that I just might win’ fades up on the soundtrack.)

Mark Pack has a list of all the previous nominees and winners, and it’s an impressive list with an important pedigree of people who’ve quite blogging and/or the party after winning the award. It also confirms what we’ve all suspected for many years – that Jonathan Calder is the Liberal Democrat Leonardo DiCaprio.

I hope you all enjoy the awards, and whoever wins it’s just good to know that someone is reading all this and appreciates it. Thank you, and please keep reading (unless I win and have to follow the tradition, of course).


Having seen some other people do it, I was curious about what the most popular posts of the last few months (since I started blogging regularly again) were. Thanks to Google Analytics, I can find them out quite quickly, and it turns out that they are:

5) Presidential questions response: Daisy Cooper – The first response to my challenge to the Liberal Democrat Presidential candidates.
4) Something Must Be Done About Boris – When Boris proposed that we should get rid of pesky obstructions to justice like the presumption of innocence.
3) My Presidential manifesto – In which I promised to do nothing, but got a response from three of the four candidates.
2) Worth Reading extra: On #DRIP – A collection of links on the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act.

Which means my most popular post of the last few months is:

1) How did workism conquer the world? – A post that got quite a bit of attention and a lot of links, which probably indicates that I ought to write some more on the subject of workism.

Surprisingly, none of my series on Conrad Russell and liberalism made it into the top five, but several of them are bubbling just under there. There’s also been a general rise in the number of readers since July – who knew that regular posting generated regular readers? – and as those posts were back in July, they might not have got the same level of attention.

So there we have it – look out for a similar post in a few months time, if I’m bored on New Year’s Day with nothing else to do or write about.