Today I announce the mothballing of one blog (this one) and the beginning of another (Better Nation)
First, the obligatory but still utterly unnecessary preamble, (mostly just included because I wrote this months ago and then bottled the imminent retirement, can’t put those words to waste now):
The Green Party has returned its first MP to the House of Commons which is a tremendous effort given the First Past the Post system it has been fighting against for all of these years. With the 1% of the vote it received it should have returned 6 MPs, the same haul as the SNP, and that’s before taking into account all the tactical voting that’s been going on, obscuring the Greens’ true popularity.
However, despite this good news, we are stuck with the return of a Tory Government, replete with a Cabinet which worryingly somehow contains Climate Change sceptics even in this post-Copenhagen, post-Kyoto, post-Al-Gore and soon to be post-Maldives era. This has effectively scuppered any realistic chance of stabilising global emissions by 2015. Saving the world was a daunting task before the challenge of reversing the increase in carbon emissions in 5 short years, failing is surely a foregone conclusion now unless something remarkable happens.
I noted the weary resignation of the Green candidate in my own constituency during the last election campaign, destined for fourth place but making all the right arguments at the hustings and receiving the strongest and warmest applause. I couldn’t help but wonder at the time if Al Gore being robbed of the US Presidency by George Bush was the moment the planet missed its greatest opportunity to alter its tragic direction. That said, despite Ms Lucas’ presence on those ironically green benches, GE2010 will have to go down as yet another moment where the greatest threat to life as we know it barely got a word in edgeways.
So what can the Green party do? Circumvent Westminster and seek to educate and mobilise the public to take direct action? It’s worth a go I suppose.
For me, after much deliberating, most of it publicly stated on this blog, I’ve decided that I can’t avoid the inconvenient truth of not being able to realistically maintain an SNP blog (as this would always be perceived) when I’m not a member of the party, don’t particularly believe in independence, feel my political sympathies being pulled, yanked even, in a different direction and am unlikely to return to Scotland in the near to medium future.
I will say that I remain baffled by the visceral hatred that the SNP attracts from a wide, disparate group of individuals and institutions. The party’s objectives and aspirations are valid and well-meaning and, as far I have been able to tell in my relatively short time amateurishly studying the partys progress, it is chock full of thoroughly pleasant, intelligent, motivated people who seem incapable of giving in no matter how down the chips may be. May they live long and prosper.
Alas, there is no SNP candidate on my upcoming ballot slips and for me, with my somewhat ‘all or nothing’ mentality, there is no sufficiently good reason to get involved with the local Nat branch here. So it is to the Greens that my political community spirit goes, as I already let on a few weeks ago.
Reading Zac Goldsmith’s absorbing The Constant Economy got the ball rolling and the conduct and arguments of Westminster Green candidates on Twitter and blogs, the Two Doctors blog which I barely ever disagree with and Patrick Harvie’s excellent performances inside (and outside) of Holyrood cemented the rest.
I’ve been much more of a Green than a Nat for a while now I suppose so it’s time to fondly pat down the walls of this blog that has served me so well, switch the lights off (of course) and head off to pastures new.
Those pastures are already up and running as I will be embarking on a blogging experiment with fellow seasoned veterans James MacKenzie (of Two Doctors) and Malc (of Malc in the Burgh) at Better Nation. It won’t be business as usual though as I intend to blog considerably less over the next six months or so but what it will be is a reflective, intelligent (hopefully), slightly nerdy and above all optimistic take on Scotland and its potential. Please make sure to stop on by (or better still, update your Bookmarks and links!)
Thanks for everything that this blog has given me; basically an illuminating lifting of the lid behind how politics works and a satisfying but humbling readership including literally hundreds, perhaps thousands, of tremendous comments that helped shape my thinking and no doubt others’ too. It’s been a great ride for someone who didn’t feel he had a right to be in the blogosphere when he first stepped into it and, although I won’t miss pesky journalists asking me what my employer may think of a certain blog post, I will miss the challenge of maintaining a high posting rate and mixing up the debate.
Not that this is farewell of course, Better Nation will hopefully take off and I daresay an urge to post something rampantly partisan and tactical-related will see me back here sooner rather than later once the 2011 campaign gets going in earnest.
The blogging bug is a bit like flying Ryanair after all – You know it’s damaging, dirty and wrong, but you just can’t help yourself anyway!