And I missed its birthday thanks to, well, being in a bit of a blogging lull at the moment.
Anyway, 5th March 2003: that’s when I started this place – on a basic Blogspot account with a standard template, long before such wonders as Wordpress existed and handy tools like RSS feeds and trackbacks had become widespread, and at a time when I wasn’t aware of a single other political blog (though I must have been aware that they existed, as I remember feeling that 2003 was far too late to get into this blogging game to hope to have any kind of impact).
The first post (with most of the links now broken, as that was in the days when few sites gave their articles permanent URLs) can be found here. The first paragraph ever written on this blog – surprisingly – still largely stands:
This blog will contain the musings of a one-time Eurosceptic turned pro-European. Turned largely by the inanity of the innumerable Eurosceptic rantings. However, there will be few cases of rampant Europhilia – the zeal of the convert has not overwhelmed me. The arguments will be mostly balanced, and stupid claims from both sides will be equally vilified.
And now for the next six years – hopefully full of the long-promised increase of articles providing historical context to current debates, as well as some of the same old stuff.
The trouble is, you see, that the EU hasn’t progressed AT ALL in the six years I’ve been writing about it. I’ve been over all the arguments countless times, and they’re all still the same. Take this post from November 2004, for example. It covers all the bases: the EU’s identity crisis post-Cold War and enlargement and Europe’s role in the world, eurosceptics sniping from the sidelines, the fall-out from the Iraq war’s impact on EU-US relations, Britain’s relationship with both, the EU Constitution (that (d)evolved into the Lisbon Treaty) and the need for major EU reform. Go through the archives, there’s scores of similar posts, many of which could have been written last week – or at any point in the last decade, so little has the EU progressed since the run-up to the Treaty of Nice back in the late 1990s.
Little wonder, then, that I’m finding it hard to drum up much enthusiasm at the moment – but genuine wonder that I’ve managed to stick it out for so long. After all, as I’ve repeatedly noted over the years, if the EU could be summed up with one handy phrase it would be this: incomprehensible and boring as hell.
“A week is a long time in politics”, they say. Not when it comes to the EU, it’s not. Hell, the last decade has seen so little progress, ten years may as well have been a week.