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Goodbye 2006 – This blogging year

This year has been yet another incredible year for this site, and has seen it grow yet further. So, now that it’s almost over, let me indulge in a parochial look back at this amazing year.

Back in 2004, the site generated 282,122 hits. That’s quite impressive. Last year, I was blown away by a final total of 1,202,415 hits. This year, I’ve more than doubled that. The final figures won’t be in till sometime tomorrow, but I’ve certainly had well over 2,500,000 hits this – two and a half million. The site has grown pretty consistently over the year, with this month being the most successful.

All of this is despite there being far fewer posts this year than last. I hope that you’d agree that, whilst there have been fewer posts, each one has been of higher quality. Easily one of the most notable posts of the year come in February, when I was one of only a very few UK outlets to publish the infamous Denmark cartoons, sparking a response bigger than anything the site has ever seen before, contact with the Reuters news agency, and a Google ranking higher which was the stuff of dreams. The comment thread still continues to grow.

Also this year, I’ve been featured in Iain Dale’s book as one of the country’s top politcal bloggers, ranking me higher than Jeffrey Archer, Melanie Phillips, and David Aaronovitch, I’ve won a Bloggy Award, I’ve worked with the country’s number one political blogger Guido Fawkes on a local political scoop, and I’ve been picked out by Channel 4 News as a ‘blog of interest’. And all this for spouting my often ill-conceived opinions to a global audience. Oh, and the site’s now making a profit for the first time, despite having no big flashy banner ads or Google Adwords – just plain, honest recommendations and an all-new toolbar with ‘shopping’ links.

So, after a spectacular year, there’s really only one things that remains to be done. And that is to thank you, my readers, for your continued support throughout the year. I thank you for your reading, your commenting, and even for those times we’ve disagreed. Thank you for it all – you make it worthwhile and fun.

I’ll be back here in 2007 – I hope you will be too.

This 1,024th post was filed under: Blogging, Site Updates.

Saddam Hussein has been executed

Breaking news in the last few minutes that a 71 year-old grandfather has been filmed being barbarically killed using an ancient method of state killing after a highly criticised show trial in an unstable country. This is, apparently, ‘justice’.

And this from the side of the angels? Oh, how they’ve fallen.

This 1,023rd post was filed under: News and Comment.

Jamie Oliver: Get Dead

This is not some satirical comment on the ‘celebrity’ chef, but a rather wonderful book by someone of the same name, which I would highly recommend. I’ve just enjoyed every page, from cover to cover, over a couple of days. It’s a fantastic amusing romp through death, people’s opinions on it, stats relating to it, and the practicalities of what to do when someone dies.

Yes, I know that sounds depressing and weird. But it really is a good book, full of inspirational quotes and not depressing in the slightest. It also has masterful photography by Cristian Barnett, who’s name should really be up there on the front – without his contribution, this book wouldn’t really work (if you’re not familiar with him, check out his website).

Did you know, for example, that five times more people commit suicide in the UK than die in Road Traffic Accidents? And doesn’t that make you think that something, somewhere, is wrong with funding in this country? If you need a reminder of the current state of mental health funding in this country, look here.

But let’s not get me started on that particular rant. Buy this book. You can get hold of it very cheaply through Amazon, and it’s well worth it.

This 1,022nd post was filed under: Book Club.

Hazel Blears: The NIMBY minister

Hazel BlearsHazel Blears is the chairman of the Labour Party. The Labour Party have decided, in their wisdom, that cutting the number of hospitals will improve the NHS, since the NHS clearly has too many doctors and nurses. Hazel Blears is, apparently, in agreement. Yet she is protesting against the closure of her local hospital.

How is this anything other than shameless nimbyism? She’s perfectly happy for hospitals to close across the UK, but when it comes to the hospitals in her constituency, they’re all vital. I wonder if, perchance, this has anything to do with the potential to lose her oh-so-precious seat? She should take a leaf from Ruth Kelly’s book, and swap her beloved seat for an altogether safer one, and basically come out and admit that her career is more important that the local people she is supposed to be representing.

Is this the first time we’ve seen a cabinet minister protesting against a decision with which they apparently agree? It’s certainly an odd spectacle. But then, she’s an odd minister. Like many of Blair’s babes (mentioning absolutely no names), more of a huge-flower-on-the-lapel permasmile Blairite automaton than a person.

This 1,021st post was filed under: News and Comment, Politics.


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