I was very sad to hear about the death of Professor Norman Geras on Friday. He and those who were in turn influenced by him such as Nick Cohen, David Aaronovitch and John Rentoul have had a truly profound impact on the evolution of my politics over the last decade.
Like so many, I came to Norm via the excellent Normblog, which I first read in 2005. I was a sporadic blogger at the time and read a piece in The Guardian called “The new commentariat“, a profile of the prominent UK bloggers making a name for themselves on the web and directly challenging the editorial authority/hegemony of the mainstream press. Also profiled was Oliver Kamm, another of my favourite bloggers (who now works on the editorial team of The Times), Harry’s Place and several others. Normblog became required reading for me on a daily basis, up to and including today.
[reproduced from Nick’s Spectator blog]
I was shocked this morning to log on to Twitter and learn that Norman Geras had died. I can think of few political writers, who have influenced me more comprehensively. Whenever I faced a difficult moral question, I would at some point think ‘ah, what is Norm saying about this,’ go to his blog and see that Norm had found a way through.
Last year Norm’s colleagues Stephen de Wijze and Eve Garrard published a collection of essays in Norm’s honour. I was flattered when they asked me to write about Norm’s dual life as Manchester University’s Emeritus Professor of Politics and one of the first writers to embrace the Web.
As a tribute to him, I reprint it below.