NEIL DENNY [of HARRY’S PLACE]: Norman Geras 1943-2013

Neil Denny

[first published at Harry’s Place]

Norman Geras, the UK political blogger, academic, cricket buff, and Manchester United fan has died. His clear writing, his humour, and his humanity will be missed.

In the lead up to the Iraq war there was an explosion of generally left leaning political blogs, with an anti-totalitarian viewpoint, that the debate over the Iraq war and the wider war on terror was debated on. Norman started blogging in the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq with a short post “In the immortal words of Sam Peckinpah: Let’s go.”

He did, blogging for 10 years, while all around him the blogs fell into disrepair, or sometimes crashed and burned. The persistence of Norman’s blogging was only matched by the quality of writing, the clarity of thought and the civilness of his discourse with those he disagreed with. His first proper post set out his “manifesto”.

The breadth and the freedoms of the blogosphere opened up. It was a development that went hand in hand with the emergence of a small group, mainly but not exclusively Manchester-based, which became known to its members as ‘The Loop’. All liberals and/or leftists dismayed at the tenor of supposedly progressive opinion on this issue, we began to circulate to one another, with or without accompanying comment, stuff we were finding on the internet, including in or via the blogosphere. It was a kind of micro-blogging.

I’m now hooked. There’s this global conversation going on out there: argument and counter-argument; thinking aloud; the sharing of information or just stray musings; the sharing of links, of things you want to draw to the attention of others, or merely incidents from your day, likes and dislikes, pictures, jokes, curiosities, you name it. There is, too, the letting off of steam at some damned thing you’ve been afflicted by in one medium or another. You could, of course, always write a letter to a newspaper – who could, of course, ignore it. Or you can blog.

I’m joining the conversation.

You can’t say he didn’t warn us what he was going to let loose.

Farewell Norm.