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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 also write opinion pieces for some of the UK’s biggest political 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 has been in the Top 100 Labour blogs every year 2006-2010.