07 March 2011

The five hundredth post

All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery. Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. For all one knows that demon is simply the same instinct that makes a baby squall for attention. And yet it is also true that one can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one's own personality. Good prose is like a windowpane. I cannot say with certainty which of my motives are the strongest, but I know which of them deserve to be followed. And looking back through my work, I see that it is invariably where I lacked a political purpose that I wrote lifeless books and was betrayed into purple passages, sentences without meaning, decorative adjectives and humbug generally.

- from Why I write by George Orwell

This is apparently the 500th post on this blog.

I started writing because I was a moderate liberal who could no longer remain in the Liberal Party, but who missed a forum (however flawed) for discussing political issues. I wondered then, and wonder still, what moderate liberalism means in today's Australia. I missed opportunities to talk through big issues and explore them, at a time when having a firm and fixed opinion became more important than testing whether it was useful to the policies of the nation and state.

Often I find myself sucked into discussing the journalism from which I'm quoting, and watching a "profession" like journalism sink under the weight of its own bullshit is no less fascinating than when it is applied to representative democracy and aforesaid moderate liberalism.

There's plenty to write about in both of the above, and in doing so quarantine it from the rest of life. I don't have a cat, so I can't write about that. I do have a family, including kids who say/do the darndest things, but I have other opportunities to talk about them. I have a job - in the private sector - and all my colleagues are good people. I keep on top of sport but am rarely moved to write much beyond the standard analysis - and besides, sporting events can be evanescent anyway. I am profoundly moved by art but am self-consciously inarticulate about it. I tried a separate blog about food but I even bored myself in writing it, who knows what it must have been like reading it.

I don't regale my family and friends with political and media analysis unless asked, which happens rarely and almost never more than once by the same person.

68,948 separate IP addresses have viewed this blog. The five most popular blogposts have been:
Those are tiny numbers: sometimes I prefer to think of this site as "boutique" rather than obscure, but that would assume a sophistication I don't have as a writer or analyst. I try to call it as I see it and explain why I see it that way. I publish all comments that lift the tone of the blog.

Thank you for visiting.


  1. Thank you for having us, Andrew. It's a real (and rare) pleasure to read incisive commentary by an intelligent conservative, and I find myself agreeing with you more often than not even though my politics are well to the left of yours.

  2. And thank you for struggling with your demon in public Andrew. Your scorn is always worth reading.

  3. Hi Andrew, I came across your blog about a year ago and the way you reason/write resonates with me. Really enjoyable reading, well done and keep it up.


  4. Andrew I'm one of the greenie lefties who your bio says you don't trust, and I really love your blog. Keep it up, this is a great read (even if I don't always agree). Not surprising at all the Paul Howes post came up trumps, it was great craic. Link to the food blog???

  5. Keep up the good work Andrew...I really enjoy your blog.

  6. Hi Andrew

    I love and thoroughly enjoy your writing Andrew, I am always looking for your next post, it's like an addiction for me.

    Thankyou for this post, Andrew you are a credit to the blogosphere, I hope you continue to write
    for a lot more years.


  7. Hi Andrew

    I find your blog quite interesting and came across it by accident about one year ago.
    I wish there were more small l liberals around, although I probably consider myself marginally left of centre.


  8. Great blog, Andrew.

    You and Dorothy Parker over at Loon Pond are my only two "must reads"..... maybe it's the occasional Molesworth references


  9. Thanks for keeping me entertained the last five years! I echo Lyn's sentiments, I'm always a little disappointed when a couple of days have gone by and you haven't posted. Looking forward to reading you for the next five.

  10. 500 posts; wow, I'm just a babe, still in my 30s. Yet again I bow to your superiority :-)
    But seriously, you've been a bit of a touchstone for me. There aren't too many conservatives online that I'm proud to know, but you are at the top of the list.
    Thank you for your fierce thoughts and beautiful writing

  11. Boutique indeed, Mr Elder, but I would go further and describe your blog as recherch√© (but never in the sense of pretentious or overblown). Your analyses, those of Greg Jericho, and the debates at Larvatus Prodeo, help to keep me sane while increasingly shrill and mendacious media “report” on increasingly shrill and mendacious politicians…

  12. Fiona, Seconded!
    Andrew, you truly merit that wonderful description of Weary Dunlop by one of his fellow captives on the Thai-Burma Railway:
    "a lighthouse of sanity in a world gone mad"
    Thanks for your hospitality and best wishes,

  13. Well done on 500, blogs like yours are the only thing keeping sensible folk sane nowadays.

    I don't always agree with what you write but it's always a hell of a lot better than the stuff I don't agree with anywhere in the mainstream media.

  14. sam sunshine9/3/11 2:07 pm

    Is it just me or is there some degree of homour in the following:

    Hanson to Muslims: assimilate or leave March 9, 2011 - 12:04PM
    .Ads by Google Do You Have An Idea?

    Sourced from the online version of the Brisbane paper today 09/03.

  15. Such lovely comments, thank you all.

  16. armchair opinionator16/3/11 4:37 pm

    I visit from time to time and echo the above sentiments. My politics are to the left of your moderate liberal position, but I value your thoughts, insight and articulation. It gives me a rare, rational Liberal perspective on issues!

  17. I have just started reading your blog and trawling through the archives. I am enjoying it very much and reading bits out to my husband, who also appreciates your excellent writing!
    I am yet another of the untrustworthy lefty green types (disclosure!), and I am very interested to read your perspectives and analysis...which are such a relief when msm is so freakin' dire.