Almost couple of months ago I decided that I could no longer continue blogging.
There were a number of reasons for this. There have been some significant changes in my circumstances that in turn have led to my having to adjust priorities. I was finding that blogging, and a great deal of the thought that went into it, was beginning to overtake me.
The break from the blog has been a welcome one and has afforded me the opportunity to better invest my time where it was arguably more needed. I had no real intention of returning to the blog but I have been persuaded otherwise and am now relaunching it - although please be prepared for changes.
I was quite touched by the number of messages I have received either lamenting my departure from the blogosphere or encouraging me to return. Many of these people are members of parties opposed to the Liberal Democrats or of none, which actually means a great deal to me as it demonstrates that I've been reasonably successful in reaching beyond the boundaries that party indentification generally imposes. I've had some offers to contribute to other blogs (thank you for those invites and yes, I will endeavour to take them up) while others, especially on twitter, have said generally positive and encouraging things to coax me back.
I'm not wishing to suggest that I'm giving in to popular demand, although I did not anticipate the kind of responses I received two months ago. Nor did I recognise how much others enjoyed reading A Scottish Liberal. Essentially, for all the kind support and encouragement of various people, the person who really inspired me to return to blogging was Kavya Kaushik - we had a bit of a conversation on twitter regarding people that inspire after which she wrote a piece for Lib Dem Voice in which she stated that "Every Lib Dem, elected or not, must constantly remind themselves that politics is about changing Britain, not their CVs...true inspiration[s] remind me of the power an individual has to help...politics must be humanised..." That should, of course, be true for anyone active in politics but it laid down something of a challenge to me. Bloggers can and do wield significant influence and that includes shaping the political landscape and conversation of our country. Why should I lay that down altogether when I have that power to "help" and "humanise"?
Another factor, admittedly, was Nick Clegg. Hearing him talk about social mobility in his own inimitable style (described by my friend Nicola Prigg as "like listening to public school formulaic speech") is certainly a motivating factor in returning to blogging. While I hope my writing achieves many things, including inspiring others and humanising politics, it is also - on a different level - an expression of frustration and anger as much as it is one of hope and vision.
And so, via A Scottish Liberal I will again be attempting to bring my own perspectives to the diverse and growing community that is the Scottish blogosphere. However, the circumstantial changes I referred to are very real and I may be unable to contribute for longer periods of time than I'd ideally like while at other times updates will be frightening frequent. Certainly I intend to write more from inspiration than as demanded by unfolding political situations.
I would also like to have some guest contributors who are broadly liberal in their outlook but do not necessarily belong to the Liberal Democrats. Liberalism is not the preserve of one political party and the cause of liberalism is of greater concern to me than the future of the Liberal Democrats (although the two are inextricably linked). Any liberal voices articulating positive messages will always be welcome here.
There will be changes in content too. A Scottish Liberal will be focused on issues affecting the Liberal Democrats, Scottish and British politics more generally and the forthcoming independence referendum with its associated campaigns. There will also be an increased emphasis on European issues, as well as more posts on political history.
I intend to launch a personal blog, aimed at a completely different audience, in which I will deal with elements of my personal life, my interests in sport, photography, art, music and popular culture, my concern for mental health improvement and LGBT issues. In fact, it will be an outlet for me to express my views on practically anything that motivates me, while keeping A Scottish Liberal focused solely on the political (although there may be some overlap where LGBT rights are concerned). So you will no longer be subjected to discussion of the varying fortunes of Morton or Albion Rovers.
So, it's good to be back. I look forward to the renewal of intense debate and conversations with old readers (and hopefully some new).