I blog because I quite like to write about what I happen to be thinking about - and I suppose it helps me arrange my thoughts in order. I'm particularly attracted to the bizarre, which might or might not amuse someone else. I do not blog to attract visitors, even though the readership is much higher than I ever expected it to be. I do admit that I rather like having visitors - and I like them to comment. Not many of them do though. I don't spend much time at my keyboard, but I try to post every day, and respond to comments whenever I can. I also like to read other blogs - probably about 10 on a daily basis, and another 20 at least once a week.
The comments I like best are those which set out to challenge my opinion, perhaps cause me to rethink my position. I've always thought it the height of arrogance to enter into any debate totally devoid of willingness to consider another opinion. It always struck me as odd that as an Assembly Member I was required to sit through debates, supposedly listening to the arguments, when we had already taken a 'group' decision about which way I was going to vote. I do accept that it is the way politics works - but this is my blog, not the Senedd debating chamber.
Some comments are great. I've just read an anonymous comment on my last post, which was about benefit reform, which challenges what I wrote in a way that stimulates me. Recently, a comment under the name of 'frankie' caused me to arrange a meeting with a local headmaster to discuss an issue about the distribution of condoms to schoolchildren, that I posted on. The profuse commenter, Dr Christopher North always has something interesting to say. Other comments are not so constructive - along the lines of 'I don't agree with you, so you must be an idiot and I'm not going to vote for you'. Of course, most blogs eliminate these sort of comments by 'comment moderation', a form of censorship that I do not want to resort to, if I can possibly help it. I even have comments which assume that unless everything I write is agreed, I am not worth the vote. I suspect that there isn't anyone that I agree with about everything.
And then there is the question of limited time, and the impact that has on my posts. There are other things I want to do with my life. Normally, when politicians prepare speeches or press statements, they take hours over it (though I admit that I didn't very often). A blog post often takes only the time needed to type it. Opinions are inevitably less considered, and more subject to amendment through debate and reconsideration. So, I hope you will carry on visiting, and commenting - and if you make a decent argument I might change my thinking - and then I might succeed in changing someone else's thinking. Its how the world makes progress.