alex hern

The Whys and Wherefores of Blogging


Last week I was lucky enough to be at a London pub for goodbye drinks for Alex Hern, departing Left Foot Forward for pastures new- quite literally, at the New Statesman. It was a veritable who’s-who of UK left wing political blogging. Daniel Elton, Alex’s boss, led the toasts, and whilst I can’t remember all of what he said, it included something to the gist of:

“…we don’t do it for money, we don’t do it for fame, we don’t do it for glory, we do it for love and because we have something to say…”

(Apologies to Dan- that is almost certainly a horrific mangling of what was genuinely a good toast)

As an explanation for political bloggers, of the more professional strain such as Left Foot Forward¬†and Political Scrapbook, it works perfectly, but it’s gotten me to thinking why it is that I pour so much time, effort and typing into this blog.

When I started it, nearly two years ago, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I started it because I liked writing, because I thought I might have something to say, and (if I’m honest) because everyone else was doing it. At the time I was starting out writing seriously, submitting and hoping to hit the jackpot and get published. The blog was as much a record as that and my life as anything terribly profound.

It’s changed quite a bit since then. For one thing, I had my first publication. And, as the 2010 general election came around, I had something of a political awakening. My views crystalised, and I joined the Labour party and started spouting off political views. Since then, I’ve been walking the tightrope between politics, writing and general life in my posts. I’m not sure if it’s been good, bad or what, but I’ve kept it going, which I’m reasonably proud of.

But what of now? Anyone reading through my recent posts would notice a clear theme: local politics in Wokingham. A large motivation of this has been coming home after university and getting stuck into politics. Also my standing for the local council. As well as this, though, I’ve been trying to provoke more of a debate. Coming from rowdy Brighton to quieter Berkshire was something of a culture shock, and the lack of political discussion did alarm me.

Since the new year, and my increasing focus on local issues, the views of my blog have leapt skyward, showing that there is clearly an interest in the borough. Bins, libraries, council tax and public loos might seem awfully humdrum, but they’re issues which affect people on a day to day basis.

So here’s to the future- both Alex’s and this blog’s. I’ll be going on as I’ve started, and I aim to hold the council to account as best I can. As long as I’m active in Wokinham’s political sphere, I’ll be blogging about it and calling the council out on their nonsense. And, naturally, I will still be knocking out short stories when the urge takes me.

Here’s to more bins, more libraries, maybe not more council tax, but an upsurge of public toilets! (And, fingers crossed, a few more short story publications).