One Year On – Still Under Construction

Today marks the completion of one year online for Harry’s Place and I am taking this opportunity to thank the many people who have helped the site grow and develop.

Blogs are a labour of love – we don’t make a penny out of the time we spend on reading, writing and linking but I have certainly found this past 12 months a rewarding experience – I hope you have enjoyed reading the site.

I started out on my own and have since been joined on the site first by Marcus Laughton in London and then Gene Zitver in Washington. They have made a huge difference to the blog – Gene and Marcus on a daily basis have brought their own ideas, views and ‘voice’ to the site and changed the site from a simple one-man’s take on the world into a broader forum. Thanks to both of them for agreeing to get involved and for all their excellent input since.

Recently Independent columnist Johann Hari has also begun to provide guest blogs and I am most grateful to him for bringing his talents to this site. When I started the site I never imagined that one of my favourite columnists would become part of the venture.

While all the bloggers here share a common perspective on the big issue of the past year, the liberation of Iraq and clearly we share common values, there is no ‘line’ on Harry’s Place. We write what we want, when we want and there has never even been discussion of content let alone interference. That will remain our sole editorial policy.

This is a left-wing blog but while promoting discussion among people of the left has been my priority I like to think we have managed to create an atmosphere on the site which welcomes ideas and comments from people of all political persuasions. The fact that we attract readers and commenters that range from Trotskyists to conservatives is, I believe, proof of that.

I leave it to others to pass judgement on the quality or value of this site but one thing I can say with confidence is that I think we have one of the liveliest comments boxes of any British blog. The frequency and the generally high quality and cordial nature of the exchanges really does add a lot to our efforts. Some of the commenters here post as much, if not more than some bloggers, and thanks to all of you.

The British political blog scene has expanded over this past year with a greater diversity of opinions to be found and the readerships of all these blogs has risen steadily showing that whatever one thinks about the medium there is certainly a market for political weblogs. I don’t think blogs are going to change the media or change politics but they do offer an alternative and they do serve a purpose.

Thanks are due to the other British bloggers who have linked to the site over the past year, helping people to find us. In particular I appreciated those bloggers who helped and encouraged me in the very early days – British Spin, Peter Cuthbertson, Iain Murray, Emily Jones, Peter Briffa and Stephen Pollard.

More recently Jackie, Anthony, Norman and Bobbie have all helped in different ways with ideas, suggestions and support.

Those readers who prefer not to publish their views in the comments but who privately email their support, criticisms and suggestions have also been appreciated. There would be nothing more dispiriting than feeling you were writing into a black hole – thanks for taking the time out to give us feedback.

Although our content and readership is primarily British, largely thanks to Gene’s contributions we have attracted some interest from American blogs. Thanks especially to Jeff Jarvis, who is a genuine blog internationalist and Dr.Frank who always has a good word for us, while his mate Matt Welch’s site was actually the first blog I ever encountered and prompted me to explore the medium.

Especially big thanks to Lawrence Krubner who was so kind in helping with the site design and who has always been ready to offer his assistance in coding matters and to Kathy at Bloghouse for her assistance in hosting the site and dealing with many of the technical issues that frankly I still have little clue about.

There will be changes to the blog in the coming months, we hope to add more guest contributions and broaden the range of issues we cover. In my first ever post to the blog I said that my politics were “still under construction”. That remains the case and so it is with this site.

So cheers to you all. It’s been a fascinating and enjoyable year.