This is a shakedown
I don’t do this often – maybe twice a year – but this is one of those times when I walk up and down the virtual tube carriage shaking my tin and requesting any spare change from readers who find some real value in this site, and have the means to help support it through a monetary donation or subscription, however small.
(Those who have already kindly donated this year are specifically requested NOT to do so again, and to instead consider supporting The Leave Alliance here if they feel so inclined – your generosity towards me is already very much appreciated. You know who you are.)
I am pleased to report that this blog is going from strength to strength (as hopefully you will have observed). New features have been trialled, some have inevitably fallen by the wayside and others have really taken off. Most notably, yours truly was invited to debate the infantilisation of today’s students on the BBC’s Daily Politics show earlier this year – not necessarily the topic or angle I most wanted for my debut, but a good opportunity nonetheless, and one which led to this brilliant caricature drawn by a viewer:
The upshot is that with two back-to-back record-breaking months in March and April, pageviews and unique visitors for 2016 to date have already surpassed the totals for 2015. In other words, in the first third of this year more people have visited and read Semi-Partisan Politics than did so in the whole of 2015.
This has been achieved partly by a significant increase in blogging frequency – from several posts per week to several posts per day, on average. In many ways this is bowing to the inevitable. A political blog is in some ways like a television channel, and going quiet even for a day is the equivalent of dead air during prime time – if you stop, people will simply change the channel.
But this growth is also due to the loyalty and help of you, the readers. Increasingly I find that Semi-Partisan Politics is getting significant referrals through Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and various online bulletin boards – not to mention from the sidebar links of my blogging comrades of The Leave Alliance. Now that this site has a small but real readership, I am able to spend more time writing and less time trying to drum up an audience. A sincere thank you to all those who have shared links to this site, or taken the time to comment and enrich the debate here.
The other fairly significant change is an increase in shorter response-based pieces, particularly with the “Tales From The Safe Space” series. Here, the broader argument (in defence of free speech and academic freedom) is advanced in multiple posts, without the need to restate the case in full each time, and I have shared numerous examples of bad (and occasionally encouraging) things taking place on British and American university campuses with some pointed commentary, but without the full context you would get in a complete essay.
While I continue to play around with the format and focus of individual posts and series, this blog retains its commitment to the following ideals:
Brexit: freedom from the European Union
Democracy and national sovereignty
Constitutional reform and a federal UK
Separation of church and state
Healthcare reform, not NHS worship
Smaller, smarter government
Free speech, without restriction
Fighting the Cult of Identity Politics
Fighting timid centrism on the Right
Fighting empty virtue-signalling on the Left
Maintaining the high tempo of blogging required to grow this site means that besides the day job and family time, this blog is my life. Other interests are largely on hold in order to commit to writing as much as possible, a sacrifice I am happy to make because I believe the issues which I write about are important. The few occasions on which this blog has been picked up in the national media validate this assessment, I believe.
I would like to do more. My future reading list now spills onto two book shelves as I try to stay up to date with the most important issues I cover while also trying to remediate a desperately poor grounding in history and philosophy (thanks, state education).
Obviously the EU referendum is a priority at the moment – I am proud of my association with The Leave Alliance, the only group with not only a plan for achieving Brexit in a safe and non-disruptive way, but more importantly a genuinely positive vision for what a globally engaged and democratically renewed Britain should look like.
If you agree with these objectives and enjoy this blog’s coverage and commentary, please do consider using the PayPal tip jar to make a small contribution to my work:
One-off donations or small regular contributions are all greatly appreciated, and help me to continue my work here. Reader contributions partially supported last year’s live-blogging of the UKIP party conference which won acclaim in the national media, and I hope to repeat the exercise at more of the party conferences this season.
Many thanks to everyone for reading, sharing and commenting.