First, I've been unwell. My chest infection returned on the 8th of the month and has still not completely gone. I've had no energy to do very much of anything at all, including blogging.
But there's something else.
Readers may well have noticed a distinct reduction of the number of posts over the past year or so. I guess I've become somewhat "blogged out".
This whole thing started way back April 2002 with these words:
Welcome to this new blog. The title Freedom and Whisky links the two themes of this blog: libertarianism and Scotland. The libertarianism will, however, sometimes extend beyond events in Scotland and I shall also be covering non-political news of interest to me north of the border. I have therefore included links to a variety of Scottish sites which I often use.The plan was to introduce libertarian ideas to readers in Scotland but also to help libertarian-leaning folk elsewhere learn a bit more about this rather strange land.
Most posts have had something to do with politics but I've always believed that it was a good idea to throw in some other pieces that dealt with whatever simply struck me as interesting.
Back in 2002 I was probably the only libertarian blogger in Scotland and indeed one of the very few Scottish bloggers of any sort. I think it's fair to say that we now have quite a few Scottish blogs written by people with distinct libertarian leanings, even if they can't necessarily quote their Mises and Rothbard chapter and verse. The same is so down south. Almost every day I discover a new libertarianish blog written by someone who gets it but whose name is quite unknown to me. How different from the old days.
I joined the Libertarian Alliance way back in 1972 and have looked after its money (such as it is!) ever since. Back then meetings took place in someone's flat and half a dozen was a good crowd. I well remember sitting on someone's floor listening to Harry Schultz going on about gold and money. Was he mad? No, it turned out. Later on we graduated to draughty meeting halls and the numbers rose - perhaps by seven or eight in a good year. I recall being inordinately proud when I met Andrew Alexander of the Daily Mail at some gathering of suit-wearing Young Conservatives and Alexander telling me that I must be the token "real libertarian" because I was wearing blue jeans, a black polo-neck sweater and a Taxation is Theft badge!
Eventually the Alternative Bookshop opened in Covent Garden, managed by LA founder Chris Tame who was later assisted by Brian Micklethwait. Brian was usually to be seen crouched over his highly advanced Osborne computer, churning out an endless stream of LA publications. On paper of course: there was as yet no Internet. The shop saw regular visits by Hayek, Friedman and other prominent writers. Back then we probably knew all British libertarians in person. But now, as I said above, they seem to keep popping up all over the place. There's a veritable anarchy of new libertarians out there and I like to think that this justifies Chris Tame's firm belief that the intellectual battle is what matters, not day-to-day political skirmishes.
So why so few posts here recently?
Partly it's just being "blogged out". How many times can one rant on about the idiocies of politicians? How often do we need to tell the Bank of England to just stop printing the money?
Another reason is connected to the vast expansion of Internet output from libertarians and from others writing about just about everything else that interests me. Take a look this. Click on the folders to expand if necessary. It's a full time job just trying to keep up with other sites!
So what now for Freedom and Whisky? I'm not sure really but I'm not going to go away. Maybe there will be less day-to-day party political stuff and more to do with the more important long-term ideas. Perhaps that takes me a bit more away from Scotland, but not necessarily. I voted SNP back in May last year but they've turned out to be big-statists just like the rest of them. There's plenty of material there. And how will Scotland recover from the near disintegration of its financial services industry? Will part nationalisation make us more afraid of independence or will the inevitable loss of control to London have the opposite effect? It could go either way. But what's certain is this: like everywhere else on the planet Scotland needs the ideas that were pioneered here during the Enlightenment. Libertarian ideas.
A Happy New Year to all my readers.