One Year Old Today
One year ago today I embarked on a journey with no idea how it would go or for how long. In the last year I have tried to post something almost every day, focussing mainly on politics and opinion polls, with some film and show reviews thrown in, plus a sprinkling of defence issues.
Here are just a few stats from my blog over the past year:
150,000 hits – averaging 12,500 hits per month (record month Oct 09 – 18,205 hits / record day 27 Sep 09 – 1,738 hits)
2,118 comments posted
517 articles written and posted
The following is a selection of my postings in the last year:
1. General Election Speculation – my first article in which I argued that Brown would not risk an early General Election. I stated my belief that Spring 2010 would be the most likely date.
2. Tech Savvy or Luddite? – one of my first articles which investigated the local web presence of the Reading political parties and candidates. The article led to coverage in the local press and Reading West MP Martin Salter proudly accepting the award of “Luddite” which I had bestowed on him. Later in the year the Reading West Lib Dem candidate which I had highlighted as almost invisible, resigned as the candidate.
3. President Obama – A New Era Dawns – I reflected on the hopes and aspirations for the United States’ first ever black President.
4. Margaret Thatcher – Climate Change Pioneer – Once again Margaret Thatcher was ahead of her time on this issue as on so many others.
5. Building a New 21st Century Reading Station – One of many articles I have written about local decisions and policies in an attempt to better inform local people as to what is being done in their name.
6. Norwich North – What Should we Expect Today? – this was one of the occasions when I stuck my neck out and made some concrete predictions. I was rather relieved when my predictions proved pretty close to the final result. No doubt had I been wrong certain commentators would have been quick to gloat!
7. “Gaffe Prone” Labour Candidate Trips Up – I broke the story of the appallingly inept interview given by Reading West Labour candidate Naz Sarkar to BBC Radio Berkshire’s Andrew Peach. Within a couple of days the story and associated YouTube clip had “gone viral” with coverage across the blogosphere and in the mainstream media. Contrary to some assertions I cannot claim the credit for putting the audio clip onto YouTube.
8. New Aircraft Carriers Begun as Defence Review is Announced – one of a number of defence articles I have written. Whilst the government has continued to announce a series of big ticket orders for defence equipment, within the last week we have learned the cost of their failure properly to fund these orders. Now the Armed Forces face a period of uncertainty as they await the outcome of the anticipated defence review.
9. The X-Factor 2009 – Initial Auditions – anyone who reads my blog will know that I love reality TV singing shows. Usually my support for any competitor means that they get voted out shortly afterwards but in this case I am proud to say that I spotted the talent of eventual winner Joe McElderry.
10. Manchester Conference Round Up – it was good to be able to blog live from the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester. One of the great things about blogging is to be able to write about things for a wide audience that normally only those on the political “inside” get to experience. I received many public and private messages about my Conference articles.
I am pleased with my record of predictions over the last year but of course no-one gets everything right! Last night (as a couple of eagle-eyed readers spotted) I mixed up the UNISON trade union with UNITE. Oh well, I blame the lateness of the hour I was writing and the fact that with no PC, I am still dependent on a borrowed laptop which is not as easy to use as my old PC.
Writing a blog is a considerable commitment but I have been delighted with the way it has been received. As well as the over 2,000 comments posted below articles, I have received hundreds and hundreds of emails with suggestions, information and corrections. The most satisfying thing has been the feedback from people who appreciate what I write. Readers of Total Politics voted this the top Conservative Councillor blog in the country and the third ranked of all Councillors. “Councillor” magazine described this as “undoubtedly the most attractive” blog of the top ten.
I pioneered the monthly reporting of my “activity” statistics of meetings attended and cases submitted through the Council’s recording system. This was largely in order to better inform my constituents of what I am up to on their behalf but also because of the misuse of statistics by other local politicians, in order to praise or condemn Councillors on a single criteria.
I also like to include relevant YouTube clips to liven up the content. I think my favorite clip of the year was this one:
As we end 2009 and embark upon a new year we can be certain that we will face a General Election and local elections. The opinion polls indicate that Labour will lose office nationally and I very much hope that they will lose (minority) control of Reading for the first time in 27 years. 2010 promises to be a watershed year politically and it will be a fantastic time to be blogging, with the ability to comment on the developing political story. However, without readers a blog is almost pointless. I do hope that you will continue to read, comment and message me. In return I will do my best to keep up the frequency and variety of posting.
Thank you to everyone who helps to make this blog the success it has become. It is very much a shared success.