Why this blog?

I guess my first blog should explain why I’m doing this. That way I (and you) can look back to see whether my expectations have been met. Is this just an electronic form of vanity publishing?

I was impressed by a piece in the Observer by John Naughton which explained by blogging has been so successful and popular. The main reasons he gives are first, that blogs tend to be written by people who know what they are talking about, without being intermediated by journalists who, inevitably, do not know the subject so well. The second is that the media, either deliberately or inadvertently, often do not cover controversial public issues. (John is, like me, a non-executive director of OneWorld International, a charity which works to use the power of the Internet to tackle poverty.)

In keeping up this blog, I guess the main challenges will be:

  • I am a serving civil servant, which limits what I can say in public about issues of national controversy. I guess I may end up sailing a bit close to the wind on this.
  • I have somewhat eclectic tastes, from running to international politics, so I doubt if there are going to be many people who are interested in more than a minority of what I say here. Still, that is what search engines are for.

In his latest novel, Dead Air, Ian Banks creates a character, Ken Nott, who is a shock jock. Throughout the book he expresses a range of views which are humanist, anti-establishment, liberal, and progressive. He has a coherent world view, contrarian but civilised. Ken has an opportunity to put, and defend, his views on radio. And Banks is clearly using Ken to express his own view of the world. As I read the book, I realised that I too wanted an opportunity to express, and defend, a coherent set of views on issues that are either current, or should be. I don’t have a radio show, but I can set up a blog. To be honest, I have a few things I want to get off my chest, which should keep me going for a few weeks. Whether there will be enough interesting things to write about after that, time will tell.

So that is why this blog is here, and what I hope it will achieve. It will be interesting to look back on this entry in the weeks and months to come, to see how much of this has come about.

Owen

Some links: About me

Published by Owen Barder

Owen is Senior Fellow and Director for Europe at the Center for Global Development and a Visiting Professor in Practice at the London School of Economics. Owen was a civil servant for a quarter of a century, working in Number 10, the Treasury and the Department for International Development. Owen hosts the Development Drums podcast, and is the author Running for Fitness, the book and website. Owen is on Twitter and

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *