Ten years ago today I was soundly beaten at the ballot box.
I might have suffered a crushing defeat in the 2001 election, but I was brimming with confidence. I’d thoroughly enjoyed the campaign, I’d held second place despite a fierce campaign from the Liberal Democrats and had a bright future, this was when there was still something of the expectation that wannabe MPs fight ‘their unwinnable’ before looking for a better seat.
But I never applied for another seat and now write with the perspective of being at the pinnacle of my political career. It is, admittedly, something of a stretch to call it either political or a career. And frankly pinnacle is a massive exaggeration, hillock is more than generous. But I’ve used that joke for far too long to be stopped by such quibbles.
And what has this to do with ‘rebooting’ my blog? Not that much, other than the human instinct to look for and find patterns, symbolism and relevance where none exists. So when I realised yesterday that it was close to the tenth anniversary of the 2001 election the symmetry of posting attracted me: just as 2001 could be seen as a change in my political ambition, today’s anniversary could be seen as a change for my blog.
It’s needed a reboot since before my month-long silence since referendum day, during which I couldn’t even cobble together a few words reflecting on the result, or even some strange sort of boast of how I’d managed to some reflect public opinion with my somewhat detached and variable opinion on electoral reform.
But it was doomed before then. I’m not sure when I first realised it, but I was certainly well aware when I snapped a photo and realised I’d be writing about dog poo that I was engaging in the worst type of blogging councillor self-abuse. Like Congressman Weiner I am “deeply ashamed of my terrible judgement”, although, unlike him, I’m not resigning.
Maybe writing about dog poo isn’t as bad as accidentally publicly posting revealing pictures intended for women you hardly know; but if a blog (or any social media) is an internet-accessible representation of your persona, then my persona was tired and lacking direction. It had meandered around subjects and not really offered anything. It reflected that, for various reasons, blogging was not the most comfortable thing I could be doing.
So it’s time for a reboot. I’m not quite sure what that reboot will bring. Will it revive the blog in the way that Star Trek or Batman Begins refreshed (and darkened) their respective franchises? Or will it be a Lost in Space which did Irwin Allen’s concept no favours despite having Heather Graham and that guy from Friends in it?
I’ll be honest, I have no idea, partly because I’m adopting a ‘just do it’ attitude and not thinking too deeply about what a revived blog will look like. I know there are some areas I previously covered that won’t get any more airings. And I know there are some things that I will be covering that I never really touched on before.
But the overall picture? That won’t be apparent for a while. I’ll be a less-talented Rolf Harris, seemingly directionless until I can suddenly ask “do you know what it is yet?” and hopefully you, and I, will.