Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

Welcome to the new look

Yes, things have been a bit slow here for the last few months. Hopefully that’s now all going to change.

The name change is hopefully going to help with this. It should instantly indicate my pro-EU stance at last (far too much confusion was caused with “Europhobia” as the name over the last five years), plus demonstrate that I’m fully aware that the EU is anything but a perfect society. Utopia, after all, was “No place” – it didn’t exist.

I’m also hoping the new name may inspire me to broaden the focus a bit, and take in a bit more European history and culture than I have done in the past. After all, I came to be interested in politics thanks to my interest in history, worked on a history magazine for three years, and am sitting on a fairly sizable history library and a good postgrad history degree. It’s a shame to waste them.

The way the new look will probably work is that these featured posts up top will – I hope – be longer, more considered pieces. Quite likely also more infrequent – and possibly including a few new regulars. I may even revive the Euroblog Roundup from time to time. (To switch between the featured posts, click on the little images underneath the main box.)

Under the featured box on the main page will come the more bog-standard blog posts, often fairly short and sweet, to draw attention to interesting developments or pass swift judgement. I used to avoid these before as I didn’t like the longer, more considered pieces being shunted down the page by flippant off-the-cuff comments – but if flippancy doesn’t have a place in blogging, where does it?

Thanks are due to Jon Worth for poking around the back end and helping patch up the site after the initial hijack, Devil’s Kitchen for design pointers and handy code advice, and Marie from Sonnet UK for painstakingly removing all the dodgy code to ensure the blog is clean of crap, and then helping me with a complete re-install of everything.

Despite having slagged Sonnet off in the past (their spamfilter was blocking my emails, so it wasn’t their fault), their customer service is actually insanely impressive – a level of dedication far beyond what you’d expect for the meagre amount of cash I’m paying them each month. Plus they understand Wordpress inside out – can’t do much better for a blogger. I have no hesitation in recommending them very highly indeed.

(And yes, I do find it rather amusing – and appropriate – that the two bloggers I went to for help with this are a former president of the Young European Federalists and a member of UKIP. Proof enough of my nonpartisan nature?)

The new look is based on the rather nice Premium News Theme for Wordpress, designed by a very helpful and responsive South African web designer, Adii (yep, a mythical nice South African…), and first spotted over at tip-top Russia blog Siberian Light. Any glitches in the code are almost certainly due to my tweaks, rather than the original design.

Oh, and the Nosemonkey image is taken from this Creative Commons-licensed Flickr photo, appropriately enough taken by someone with the username Belgian Chocolate. He’s rather good.