A recently submitted comment on an old post, makes a valid point. It's in response to my repetitive and transparently self-serving requests for evidence that people read this blog:
'Matthew, ten people want you to keep on blogging. Please employ a cost-benefit analysis. R'
The comment (leading me immediately to suspect anyone whose name begins with the letter 'R') panders both to my unquenchable thirst for self-deprecation and encourages me to spend less time posting. (See what you've done, 'R' - bet you feel pretty low now?)
Fortunately, I can kill two birds with one stone. Towards the back end of last year, The Times ran a couple of articles by me in their '4th plinth' (as I call it) commentary slot. I also got invited to some great breakfasts to coincide with the publication of the newspaper's Eureka supplement. At last, I thought, my ambition to be a regular columnist is about to be fulfilled. Sadly, the new dawn turned out to be a flash in the pan. Since then, I've sent in loads of ideas, and even a couple of full columns, with no joy.
So, human nature being what it is, you would expect me to read The Times comment pages with a jaundiced eye - 'how can they reject me and print this rubbish?' But I am bigger than that, oh yes, and being big is made very easy today when there are four brilliant pieces:
Duncan Bannatyne, urging British entrepreneurs to invest in Haiti;
Richard Kemp, on why we should feel positive and determined in the face of bin Laden's latest claims;
David Aaronovitch, writing about the Edlington case with his usual mixture of common sense and scathing wit; and
Rachel Sylvester on Chilcot, making me feel (a little) better about my old boss. (Accompanied, for balance, by a clever and cruel cartoon.)
The fact is I could write articles till the cows came home, made themselves a light supper and settled back to watch Newsnight (or should that be 'Moosnight'?) and still not match any of these.
I guess I'll have to stick to the quality-assurance-free zone that is my blog. Sorry 'R'!
We shouldn’t underestimate how far our societies have pulled apart. Yet there is hope for renewal, says Anthony Painter. The question is not whether we come together – but how.