As it’s nearing the end of the calendar year, I thought I’d look back at the blogging that I’ve done this year and some of the highlights. I will leave it to you to tell me about the lowlights.
I have published 79 posts, including a number of guest blogs. In terms of numbers of visitors it’s been my best blogging year so far (and in various different forms I have been blogging for over six years now – this was my first post.) My numbers are teeny in comparison with other more well-known nature bloggers, but it’s been gratifying that I have had so many readers this year.
After receiving some comments which I decided not to publish, I discovered I needed to have a comments policy – I suppose this is an indication of the strength of feeling about things that have happened in 2016.
Far and away the most popular blog I wrote this year (and any year) was the day after the Referendum – The EU Referendum: Turkeys have voted for Christmas. I was amazed to see it read about 15000 times on that day and overall in the year it has been read 22,770 times.
In a distant, but still respectable second place with 4230 views is one from January – The Flood, The Environment Agency Chair and the Grouse Moor. In this post which followed the exceptional flooding of last Winter, I revealed that the chair of the EA was a Director in a company which owned a large Grouse Moor; owned by the now deceased Duke of Westminster. I thought it was odd that he hadn’t mentioned this fact, while discussing the causes of flooding and their relationship with upland management. Shortly after I wrote the piece the EA chair resigned. A friend in the sector suggested my blog had led to his resignation – it hadn’t, of course.
Not far behind in third place with 3944 views is another post-Brexit piece, which explored the then new Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom’s views on farming and the environment. It turned out that Leadsom had already made a number of statements, some quite bizarre, about farming subsidies in particular. Since then she has gone into complete reverse, avoiding making wackier comments, indeed avoiding making any comments about anything at all related to nature, other than that the Government will leave it in a better place than it found it. Nature means Nature, I guess.
Former Prime Minister David Cameron (remember him?) and his imaginative rendition of a story about voles was my fourth most popular blog of 2016 (with 2104 views). Cameron, appearing in front of a Parliamentary Committee, told a story about voles – the moral of which is, don’t bother with regulation, Nature will look after itself. When I looked into the facts of the matter, a very different story emerged.
Finally in this top five for 2016, is a guest blog by Peter Marren. Peter was inspired to write a piece about the Forestry Commission’s proposals to ban collecting of edible fungi in the New Forest. Thanks to his blog and other pressure, the FC have resiled from their threats.
I haven’t written much over the past four months or so. This is partly because I was ill for a long time, but also because I wanted to focus my energy on taking forward People Need Nature.
Thank you to everyone who has visited this blog during 2016, read my random jottings, and especially those who have left comments.