One Year of The Common Green

The Common Green blog just hit its first anniversary.

Initially started as a continuation of my monthly column in Yes Clydesdale’s Aye Magazine and to help support and expand on points made during my pitch as a potential list candidate in the upcoming Holyrood elections, it has grown to a rather larger audience than I had expected with over 32,000 visitors dropping by to read articles.

Several of those articles even went fairly viral, as these things sometimes inexplicitly do, with my early discussion of last year’s GERS figures, the prototype for my “We Need To Talk About:” series in which I pull some details out of under-reported stories, (look out for an updated version later this week when this year’s figures are published) and my dissection and explanation of the Holyrood election voting system doing particularly well (the latter article has even been republished and incorporated into a couple of school and university courses).

By far and away the most popular article I’ve written so far though was a take down of one of last year’s big scare stories. “We Need To Talk About: Budget Underspends” accounts for one in four of this site’s pageviews and was a reaction to the near blanket media coverage of an SNPBAD story which could have been neatly resolved by any political journalist with a pocket calculator (or, as it turned out, a Green activist without one!). Whilst it’s probably no surprise that an article in support of the SNP on a Green page is more likely to find favour among supporters than one critical of them, I think it spoke also to a deeper sense of despair with the way the media still tries to treat a Scotland which went through a political awakening and education during the indyref and is showing very little sign of letting that go yet. That story was a lesson that we’re not going to let politicians just make spurious claims any more and not question them. And we’re not going to let them get away without answering those questions either.

So thank you to everyone who helped this blog get to where it is, to those in the 110 countries and territories who have enjoyed reading what I’ve greatly enjoyed writing and thank you to everyone who shared the articles around (I get trackback links from the strangest places sometimes) and I’m glad to have helped people learn and talk about issues which would have otherwise passed us by.

Here’s to 2016 and beyond and, as a little bonus, below is a copy of my first formally published piece of political writing (long before I had joined a political party) for the Aye Magazine back in November 2013. Final thanks to Bill Oliphant for convincing me to do it. You knew not what you had wrought.

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