It behoves me at the very least to thank all those who commented or emailed following my decision to close The Slog. But The Slog as was stays closed.
There are various reasons for this. The main one (as outlined in what has now become the penultimate post) is that if one paints oneself into a corner called commentary, being chained to the pc goes with the territory. I’ve been needing some time to think about the best way to annoy the Establishment without annoying myself even more. I’m some way through that process, but the key thing is that what’s passed is past: next time, what I write will be about consequences and insanity, not breaking news.
Talking of time, this was another issue. Contacts, moles, snouts, witnesses: all this takes time, effort and no little stress. Three posts a day was more than enough, but the footslogging of individual investigation has become too much. So regrettably, I will have knock that side of things on the head. Between us – and it was very much a joint effort – there were some successes. One thinks particularly of the Secret Family Courts, Cyclops & the MAOIs, Scottish Labour Party grandees, George Galloway and several other at least wounded dragons. But The Slog didn’t set out to be The News of the World, or indeed any other form of scoop-sheet: it just happened.
The cost has become a serious consideration. At one point, calls to all points of the globe had reached such a level, a delightful lady from France Telecom rang to check that we really were the ‘proprietaires’, and not some squatting journalists’ collective who’d hijacked the phone. While the Comtesse de Slog et moi are not on the breadline, we’re not on the Rich List either. I will still use quaint old email to stay reasonably close to solid international contacts, but here too the same principle applies: I’ll be more interested in their medium term view rather than where Tim Geithner ate breakfast yesterday.
It would of course be deeply ill-mannered not to pay just tribute here to the more than forty people worldwide – in the US, Germany, France, Sweden, Australia, HongKong, Switzerland, Ireland, South Africa and many other countries more interesting than Britain – who, for some reason best known to themselves, gave freely of their time and secrets to help an obscure Limey website. (The Slog also retains the willing and free services of a major mole in Brussels, but Belgium is less interesting than Britain).
Finally, I think there are better ways to rid ourselves of the gargoyles than revelation alone. Revelation is good, but there are two problems with it: one, most of the revelations are unsurprising to the public; and two, as the Gs have no shame, the exposes evoke little beyond an insouciant smile. So I am investigating ways of quietly making them a little more uncomfortable with themselves each and every day.
Just the last week alone has been enough for me to have one insight: that as the mad folks have no sense of humour, the best way under their radar is to hoax in a way they won’t get. The first stealth bomber is already complete and about to go into service. It will be making the odd appearance in comment threads here and there on the Left. The Grauniad might be worth a look now and then, you never know.
As some of you know, next weekend we’re off to Australia for a month. From now on and during that trip, I will be tweeting occasionally about news and other stuff getting up my nose, so if you want to follow me there, feel free @nbyward. What happens next is still in the melting pot: there will be something, but it won’t be at Blogger. Blogger as you know is owned by Google, and Google has become just another online multinational far over to the right of the Service Spectrum. The spectrum runs as follows: