It’s an odd thing, this blogging stuff. I’ve been doing it for about 5 and a half years now, and it’s certainly grown. It’s also led to a ton of other stuff, which have changed my life in ways unimaginable when I first asked WordPress for some space to type my thoughts into.
One unexpected thing that has grown is my writing on politics. I’ve always had a hazy interest in politics: not parties, but policy. I’m more interested in the structures of power, the complex web rather than the tangled flies that stray into it. I began writing about it as part of my general logging on living in Beeston: we have one of the most complex systems here, and our plurality is incredible. Expand out to Broxtowe and this continues, creating one of the most interesting battlegrounds imaginable. In 2015, expect the metropolitan media to stream up here to try and make sense of it all.
Despite this, it’s become increasingly difficult to write about. This blog never had any intent, other than a love of my town and a compulsive urge to write. Writing is essential for me: my mind is in a constant mess of words and narratives; arguments and conflicts; metaphor manipulation and analogy refining, anecdotes and arguments in a constant state of polish. Writing helps by herding some of these thoughts and imprisoning them in print: straining some sense out of chaos.
Yet politics is starting to ruin that. I wanted to this blog to be free to roam as far as my mind wanders, blabbing about anything that briefly engulfs my interest.I’m lucky enough to have my own magazine and a column in The Nottingham Post to absorb some prattle, but this blog is becoming increasingly difficult to write on.
The problem is manifold. First, the fluidity of the scene here. Cursed are those that live in interesting times, for sure. Local councillors, our MP, the upcoming election, trouble in Kimberley, odd allegiances: I could churn out thousands of words a day if required, and if I had the time. I don’t have the time. Writing is only ten percent typing, if that. Most of the process is reading, talking, thinking, sitting staring into space and pondering in the bath. I write my Post article by taking a subject for a walk for a week: I’ll walk round Beeston or the Nature Reserve shaping the sentences and refining the angle before I brew some tea and bang it onto a Word document.
With politics, this is difficult. The chaos is hard to pin down, and it’s frustrating to finish a piece and have another twist drop into my inbox. It’s also stopping me talking about the positive stuff happening round here; the blossoming of Beeston businesses and events; Oxjam’s imminent arrival; the wonderfully productive work being done by Beeston Continuum to ensure we are not at the mercy of soulless developers again. Stuff that matters, that brightens this place, that gets pushed out by the awfulness of some of our local politicos.
I’ve also taken on a new job helping with Nottingham’s bid to become a UNESCO City of Literature, a hugely exciting project that will cement our city/ county’s reputation as a place of incredible writing, both in the past and right now: and of course, into the future.
The solution? I’m ridding this blog of politics. No more stories of Soubz, no more attempts to get straight answers from politicians, and no more leaving this blog open to depressing accusations of being a Labour mouthpiece (it’s weird how the only people who accuse me of being a Labour stooge, rather than having a healthy interest in politics and a desire to hold those in power to account, as befits a decent democracy, are politicians. For the record, I’ve never joined a political party, I vote on the evidence, not out of tribalism, and have never censored a contradictory comment on here: something other blogs -listen up, Broxtowe Blue – do as a matter of course.
Instead, I’m going to post anything predominatly political on a blog I’ve used in the past as an overflow, which you can find here. Theres a few articles on there, including a freshly written piece, and while mainly featuring local politics, will discourse on occasion to wider political issues: i’ve been fascinated by the recent referendum in Scotland for example: as I’m a technical Scot I was, for a few odd hours, of indeterminate nationality; like Shroedinger’s Cat I was both Scottish and British until the ballot box was opened and the wave form collapsed.
I’d also like YOU to help me. I want to host some articles not written by me; but by people like you. I don’t care what political stripe you are (though nothing from the BNP: I find reading crayon scrawled on the back of a Daily Mail hard to read), send something in. Not just a screed on your opinion on a subject, the likes of which could be read anywhere: it would be great to get some decent journalism, researched and thought about, one that challenges, rather than confirms, opinion. Let me know what you think.
Phew. I feel a great weight has been lifted. Viva Beestonia, viva Beeston.