Ten years of blogging: 2012

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This year featured my longest blogging dry spell in my ten years, and then my decision to come back to regular blogging. Having spent the time to go through all these posts, it’s fascinating to see how much blogging has changed over that time, but that’ll be for a post tomorrow.

For the first few months of the year, the blog’s represented by just three posts in January – an announcement about roadworks, a link to the hyperlocal Colchester Chronicle blog and a plug for my writing group.

And then in May, things sprung back into life, which may have been connected to this announcement about me taking a break from the council’s Cabinet.

In the worlds of ‘what if?’ history, I took a look at the nightmare world that might have occurred if Colchester had been moved into Suffolk in the 1970s. Well, not so much a nightmare, more a vaguely unsettling dream that probably featured even more Ipswich Town fans in Colchester.

In politics, I suggested improving customer service standards in the House of Commons, and improving turnout by attempting weekend voting. Meanwhile, politics in Gwynedd rested on a knife edge and philosophers mused over the question of an empty ballot box in Glasgow.

With my new freedom, I wrote a poem that was ripped from the headlines. At this rate, the next poem on the blog will be some time in May 2015.

Further recursion found me looking back at posts from my nine years of blogging, and I also started my regular posting of local planning applications, which is a series I have continued. Later, I gave some guidance on how planning matters work in Colchester.

I think there are humorous parallels between the politics of Westeros in A Song Of Ice And Fire and current British politics. However, the lack of interest in that post shows I may be alone in that.

The saga of accreditation at Lib Dem Conference continued. As ever, some people thought there were more important things to argue about, like campaigning for the sake of campaigning.

In Parliament, people were shouting at each other and wondering why politicians get no respect. This was not helped by the Prime Minister acting like an eight-year old and sulking until he got an apology. In related news, Lib Dem MPs took the brave decision to make no decision on Jeremy Hunt (and I got a prediction right, for once).

This post, wondering about whether the ‘national interest’ still required the coalition started off a chain of thought that would lead to a bigger post a few months later.

I also looked at the prospect for adopting a more liquid form of democracy in this country. No one has tried it, to date.

One theme of my writing in 2012 has been the problems with the way politics is conducted in the country. I wondered about why we let it all be treated like a big game (continued here) and why Lib Dems were too scared to frame discussions and thus let the Tories anchor them in their favour. But then if you want to understand modern British politics, this quote here sums it up perfectly.

In much more pleasant news, the Tour de France started, and I kicked off my daily posts about it. You can see them all on this tag, from the Prologue to Paris.

Much of AUgust was spent watching the Olympics, but it did prompt some ideas like how the BBC could use the red button services to bring back Grandstand and why the world needs a House of Awesomeness.

Then in September, my return to semi-regular blogging was marked by me writing this post, on how it was time to end the coalition. I followed it up with this explanation about why Lib Dems needed to see it as a credible option and why Nick Clegg needed to be more like Michael Gove.

Also in September, Nick Clegg was apologising for the wrong thing, while Canadian politicians were making important decisions after punching each other.

In October, I looked at why the Lib Dems were short on ‘future leaders’ and then used my powers of prognostication to announce who might be the five most influential people on the party.

I had a joke used on Radio 4 Extra’s Newsjack, which reminds me to get thinking of some new material, as I believe it’s returning soon. I also wrote about Russell T Davies and how he addressed questions of faith in Doctor Who.

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Updating an old post revealed that cricket’s real Ashes were now in the hands of Sri Lanka.

Idle thoughts prompted me to think about how I could monetise my blogging experience, and cash in the equity on my soul.

In right-wing bloviator news, James Delingpole wasn’t sticking a fork into his face, a href=”http://www.nickbarlow.com/blog/?p=2092″>Mark Littlewood isn’t a Liberal Democrat and Donald Trump isn’t British. And Tory MPs weren’t lining up to join the Liberal Democrats or UKIP.

If anyone’s done the research on the effectiveness of elected mayors that I suggested here, they haven’t yet published it.

I wrote a long post about NaNoWriMo to prove how easy it was to write 1700 words in a day – and this was the year when I failed to complete it. The lesson seems to be say less on the blog and say more in Scrivener.

At the start of November, I decided to look at whether there was any gender bias in the selection of guests for Have I Got News For You. The numbers appear to say that yes there are, and as I kept updating the figures, they didn’t get any better.

I never learn not to make predictions, though this one wasn’t quite serious. Unless Jeb Bush does become President in 2016, in which case it definitely was.

I’m sure we all remember the feverous excitement across the country that surrounded the election of the first Police and Crime Commissioners. Why, there were almost as many blog posts about them as there were votes.

Every so often I get into a dark patch about the failures of democracy in this country and the fears it brings. It’s one time that I hope my prognostications are wrong, even when David Cameron wants to do it without protection.

When the General Synod voted against women bishops, I recalled an old Not The Nine O’Clock News sketch, in a post that got quite a bit of attention and linkage. In a further attempt at generating ongoing satire, I wondered if you could fake an MP, though UKIP may well make all satire irrelevant.

I spent a night on the town in Colchester, but getting to watch people having fun in the cold, rather than having any myself. Naturally, when my brain had warmed up, this generated some thoughts.

I was rather unimpressed with the party’s new Ad Lib magazine, though it seems I’m in the minority. It’s a position I’m used to being in at the moment with regard to party matters, though I tried to be constructive and point out reasons why I thought the coalition was in trouble.

There are several blogs out there that explain in detail why Boris Johnson is wrong on many things, but in December he was being wrong about Colchester.

In happier news, the Radio Times appeared to believe that Clare Balding was the Duchess of Cambridge and the Tour de France announced it was coming to Yorkshire. Keeping up this positive mood, I agreed with Nick Clegg about something – and then agreeability went mad as I agreed with Simon Heffer too.

Thinking about cycling led me to suggest an idea for a women’s Tour of Britain, which could be one of the world’s leading races. Something else in my list of awesome things I will spend money on when I win EuroMillions.

Swinging between extremes, I wrote about introversion and politics, then went on to write far too many posts about Eric Pickles.

There were a couple of other bits of recursionincluding my pre-announcement of this series of posts – but the final substantive post of 2012 was me complaining about branding and messaging and how it was driving out actual politics. That nicely sums up that year of blogging.

And that’s the end of the look back, which has been interesting to do. Technically there are still the posts in January 2013 until the proper anniversary, but as they’re mostly these nostalgia posts, I think we can leave them for fear of getting stuck in a recursive loop. Tomorrow, it’s the anniversary proper, and my look back at ten years of blogging.