A query for readers.

You may have noticed that I have, in recent times, shifted the focus of this blog from Irish politics to other things.

There are two reasons. The first is that I’m beginning to find the “sameyness” of Irish politics to be tedious, to the extent that I am struggling to find different ways of writing about the same old political nonsense that occurs in this country. In some cases, as you will have noticed, I have recycled old posts, hardly having to change them at all. I’m also aware of becoming too preachy, and banging on about the same old issues that interest me. It’s not true that some things don’t change: They do. The problem is that too many things either don’t change or change so slowly that one would waste a life trying to change them. I have better things to do.

I’ve also noticed that when I write about non-Irish politics, books, TV, or life in general, my readership numbers actually go up. Whereas I always assumed that I was writing a blog predominantly about Irish politics, I’m not so sure now. If I write political “Yah-boo” stuff, saying that so-and-so is doing well or not so well, it gets a tribal response. But if I write about Irish political ideas (“What would happen if we did X?”) it’s tumbleweed city. It’s this lack of engagement on ideas that is most disappointing. Yes, there are some readers, on both left and right, who do engage, and I’m grateful to them, but most readers just say nothing.

What’s interesting is that if I do the same about the EU, I do get a lot of engagement, but nearly all of it from outside Ireland. Am I wrong in saying that the Irish don’t like discussing political ideas, as opposed to discussing who is up and who is down?

As you will know, from here, I recently dipped my toe into the fiction pond by publishing an eBook on Amazon. I don’t know how it is selling, as I have deliberately not checked because I’m currently finishing a second book. But people are engaging me on it, asking me questions, pointing out errors in it (for which I am very grateful) and it is much more satisfying. I also, to be honest, find writing about fictional politicians to be more interesting than writing about most of our real ones.  

What do you guys think? Some of you, many of whom I know or have met since I started writing this, are political. But do you read it for the political insight, or do you come across some posts and think “Here he goes again!” What about the spread between political and non-political? This blog is nothing without its readers, just a guy typing in his study, and so I’m interested as to what readers think about this. Thoughts? 

7 thoughts on “A query for readers.

  1. Andrew, thanks for taking the trouble to make some suggestions. That’s a good idea about the Occasional Guide, and I think people do enjoy it. I’ll see about maybe tagging them all together on the sidebar, something I really should have done for the beginning if I had any idea how many of them I’d end up writing!

  2. Hey Jason – I particularly enjoy your political writing – you always have an interesting take on thing. I feel there is a lot you’ve written before (which sometimes you re-publish) that should be more readily available from your homepage. How about, for example, having a link for the ‘Occasional Guide to Irish Politics’ series of articles?

    I read your blog less for your comments on books, films, old TV series etc. – but saying that, I’ve certainly gone on to watch various old media on your recommendations.

    Keep up the good work – A

  3. I enjoy the politics and general analysis, and I’m a rampant left-anarchist. Good writing, non-dogmatism, and clear insight. Who wouldn’t?

  4. Thanks for that. Much appreciated. The one thing I hope not to be is ideological, because there are ideas on the right and left that appeal to me.

  5. I tend to return to people’s blogs for three reasons – because they write well, because they have information not readily available elsewhere or/and they bring together information and links on things I’m interested in. You fall into the first category and a bit of variety of content is always appreciated.

  6. I’m not sure, but I’ve found your blog a useful one to direct English friends to, especially on issues of voting reform and the EU. I live in a Tory bubble in England, where there’s little political discourse and where everyone on the left is dismissed as an impractical — or nasty — idiot. The whole debate here is ridiculously polarised.

    It’s helpful to be able to show people somebody who’s on the right but who believes it’s possible to work with people on the left and who doesn’t regard it as a repudiation of all he is to vote for people on the left. That’s pretty much inconceivable here. To most of my friends on the British right — even those just barely right-of-centre — these ideas are heretical, and wholly incompatible with anything other than what they term ‘socialism’. Being articulate and witty doesn’t hurt either, as does the fact that your willingness to criticise Irish life and politics gives legitimacy to your criticism of others.

    (And yes, I know you’re more of a free-market Lib Dem than even a soft Tory, but the principle holds, I think.)

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