Sunday, June 12, 2011

Five years and counting - award winning blogging from Louise Baldock

I had thought the five years were up in June, but having had a quick look, it seems my first entry was April 24th 2006, so in fact I have already passed that particular hurdle. Hurrah!

I am not sure now what I thought my long term blogging future would be, when I set this up initially with the encouragement of a few blogging Labour Party members from other regions, neither how long I thought it would last, or what I imagined I would write about over all of the years. But I am really pleased and quite surprised to be honest, that I am still here and have won faithful readers in that time.

The very well-read and popular blogs like Iain Dale and Guido Fawkes who have reported on national issues are not really competitors of mine, for as a parochial blogger in the NW of England, I was never in a position to challenge them. I have preferred to keep it local and occasionally personal and to talk about things that Liverpool residents and politicians would be interested in.

I have also seen many other local blogs come and go over those five years, because if truth be told, whilst the writing is not so hard, the staying power, commitment and the keeping on with the keeping on, is where the real battle is. Many bloggers have launched in a spirit of optimism and then become increasingly disillusioned either because they are not getting enough comments or because they find the comments they do get to be so negative that they don't care to keep it up. And for many, they are too busy living their interesting lives to have time to write about it.

I have been extremely lucky in both those regards. I will admit to having  become disheartened for a while due to the ferocity of a certain canine competitor but I never let it put me off - and it would seem my life is never so interesting that I don't have time to write entries. I love writing and it is great to meet people around the city who will talk to me about things I have written and which they enjoyed, particularly if it relates to their own events or areas of work. I can always make time to cover the things that matter to the good people of Kensington and Fairfield in particular and of course those like Nick Small for instance, who prefer to hear about my "ordinary stuff", where I took my family for Sunday dinner when they came to visit or what happened on my holidays in Ireland....

Some entries are more "popular" than others certainly, in terms of the number of people who comment on them and in some cases get hot under the collar too. A quick look through the last five years reveals some interesting debates.

There was this one on the Liverpool Nativity for instance that brought some of the less charitable residents of the UK crawling out of the blogosphere

Or a radio4 debate about the Capital of Culture from May 2008 - was the LibDem administration really a basket case? Was Jane Kennedy really toast? We all speculated.

I discussed the chances of my finally getting a new laptop from LDL after three years as a councillor, as part of the hugely expensive contract for IT provision. The LDL contract remains as controversial now as it did then.

There was the infamous entry I wrote about the LibDems in July 2007, that barely anyone read and very few people commented on, and which raised no eyebrows at the time. Ironically it cost me my place on the shadow Executive Board a few years later in April 2009 thanks to the Liverpool Echo editorial which accused me of having a potty mouth - the guy who wrote that editorial must be just about as strait-laced as they come, I reckon. I guess history will decide who was right about what I actually wrote...but I know where my money would be placed.

The entry that was the most commented on was one concerning our quest to find a suitable wall for a mural in Kensington or Fairfield for the Liverpool Mural Project to paint upon. Some critics thought we were advocating sectarian images, which of course we were not! Sadly we were never able to find one which was our loss, as the two they did paint in the city were simply magnificent.

My entry about fighting infertility attracted interest around the world and still ranks very highly in a search for my name, as does the one about this year's Liverpool Remembers event commemorating the holocaust and genocide experienced by our new residents fleeing from persecution in places like Rwanda and looking at modern day hate crime. The BBC ran with it across the country.

I have had endless battles with the BNP over different entries about Equality and Diversity and I had a very interesting debate with a fathers for justice style campaigner with an entry about filicide - fathers who kill their children.

One of my proudest blogs was about Liverpool's first official Pride (did you like what I did then?) and one of the prettiest was this one about the beautiful dahlias in Reynold's Park which I go to see every year on my birthday.

I see from the stats that this will be my 1431st entry, not long to go now before the 1500th, I wonder what that will be about? And that brings me on to thinking about the next five blogging years. I am wondering about refreshing the template, the colours and the design are okay but they are looking a bit updated, I may celebrate that 1500th post with a new look.

I am also very keen to add sound and vision podcasts to the blog - so that I can perhaps stand in front of Kensington market and speak into a camera next time I talk about it, or read out the poem that I like to recite at British Citizenship ceremonies and capture it for those who are not there.

But for the moment, I would like to thank all my readers, contributors and enthusiasts, those who have me listed on their blog-rolls, those who have supported and encouraged me by talking "off page" about entries they have enjoyed, those who have sent interesting information for publication and I would of course like to thank Total Politics for their blog awards, for three of the last five years, recognising this work.

I know there are those who would rather I was silent, but if you knew me well, you would know that I have always had plenty to say for myself, so that is a vain hope. And I love that this country celebrates free speech.

So, I shall push on for the next five years and look forward to every new blogger who joins the sphere.

No comments: