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A distinct lack of interest

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About the author

A freelance writer and editor based in London, J Clive Matthews is Managing Editor of openDemocracy's EU and deliberative democracy blog, dLiberation.

In the real world he has co-authored two books and edited numerous others (ranging in subject-matter from movies to modern Russian politics), been acting editor on a glossy history and travel magazine, editorial consultant for a big name women's magazine, a freelance news editor for AOL UK, worked in both the House of Commons and the European Commission, and contributed to publications as diverse as Starburst and the Times Literary Supplement.

Best known as Nosemonkey online, he has been blogging about British and European politics daily for several years both at his own blog and sites like The Sharpener, General Election 2005 (now defunct), AgoraVox, France 24 and the Washington Post / Newsweek's Postglobal, as well as about movies for the BBC, and has been shortlisted for blog awards by the likes of the Guardian, Deutsche Welle International and the Weblog Awards, amongst others.

Tomorrow's Europe was part of the European Commission's "Plan D" ("for democracy, dialogue and debate"), launched in October 2005 with the aim of getting the people of Europe discussing the EU.

So, two years on, if you did a Google search for "EU debate" you'd expect this to come pretty high up, wouldn't you? People hunting for somewhere to discuss the EU would be likely, after all, to enter those terms to look for a forum for discussion.

But what actually comes top when you search for "EU debate" - with or without inverted commas? Erm... A three-year-old post by me at my personal blog's old home...

The thing is, the fact that a three-year-old blog post trumps the BBC, the EU's own official site, the Christian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, the Seattle Post Intelligencer, the Foreign Office, the Scotsman, as well as leading EU politics sites EurActive, EUPolitix and EU Observer, does more than just give me a quick ego boost.

If there were a market for debating the EU, surely a mere individual blogger writing with a silly pseudonym would not be able to dominate?

If the European Parliament's own website can only make it on to page two of a Google search for EU debate, and if nowhere in the first two pages actually offers a place to discuss the issues bar my own humble, utterly amateur effort, how interested can people actually be in discussing the EU?

(This lack of interest, incidentally, can be confirmed by pretty much every blogger who specialises in writing about the EU. It is not, shall we say, a subject that generates much traffic.)


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