Should you trust this blog?

How are you supposed to know whether to trust a blog? It’s a complicated issue. I’m not a journalist – I’m not paid to write this blog, and I’m not trained as a journalist either. Yet conversely I don’t have a news editor nagging me to write stories on topics I’m clueless about.

So what do you get here?

First of all, I only write things about topics where I know something, or have something to contribute to the debate. I don’t write things because everyone else is writing about the topic. For example I’m fascinated by United States politics but I know no more about it than the next person, so I’m not going to write about it. I’ve also been quoted in numerous publications and articles – see the About page for more – and that should give an impression of the things I am trusted to write about. I have also written opinion pieces for some big blogs and online magazines.

Secondly, I am an EU policy specialist by background. I have a better intuitive understanding of the EU than I do of any other political system, and that includes UK politics, UK being the country of my birth. Yet I view EU politics through my own ideological prism, and that’s what you’ll get on the blog. I not a classical pro-European (and in fact I dislike the very term) in that I don’t just defend things the European Union does. But I want the European Union to exist, to thrive, to become more effective and democratic, to develop into a federation based on the rule of law, and I want the UK to remain a member state of the European Union. Beyond that I aim to be as factually accurate in my reporting of EU affairs as I can, and if I don’t know the answer I’ll say so – my excellent and knowledgeable EU nerd readers will often contribute comments correcting me.

Third, I reference all sources in as far as possible, and I allow comments on all articles. This sometimes means stories evolve, sometimes with many updates, each documented. This isn’t traditional journalism after all – it’s some sort of open source thinking. I’ll approve any comments that are thoughtful and not abusive, even if they are highly critical of my approach.

Fourth, this blog has been ranked by numerous surveys and polls over the years. In November 2010 it was ranked 3rd most influential centre left blog by Social Europe Journal. Brussels consultancy Waggener Edstrom ranked it 5th most influential blog in Brussels in July 2010. It was in the Top 100 Labour blogs every year 2006-2010. Hill + Knowlton ranked me the third most followed non-politician among Brussels decision makers on Twitter.

2 thoughts on “Should you trust this blog?

  1. I have to admit that I’m new to your site. I arrived as a result of trying to get answers concerning the costs and benefits of membership of the E.U. It’s always helpful to know “where someones coming from” in assessing the merit of their point of view.
    I note that you use the phrase “under the rule of law”. Isn’t this precisely the point, whose law should we live under. I think that should be the law as decided by the smallest practcal region in which one lives. Provided the E.U commission and European Parliament would confine themselves to matters of pan-European concern (with national governments being the judge of which matters) I would be in favour of continued membership. I would of course require them to be competant and able to determine those matters. For example concerning the effect of CO2 in the atmosphere; this is completely outside their competance both at the factual level and being able to effect any change which may or may not be desirable.
    That you only write about matters where you have some knowledge appeals to me. Time will tell whether that faith in born out. As a mathematician I’ve never found democracy to be of any use in the classroom or for that matter in any area requiring a knowledgeable decision. As an alternative I propose QMV i.e qualified majority voting whereby a vote is qualified by a factor depending on the knowledge of the voter on the matter under consideration. Just imagine if MPs and MEPs actually understood what they were voting about.

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