Thursday, 1 August 2013

Site Update

Dear Readers

I wanted to provide a short update on the site and what is likely to happen over the next few months. This blog has been going for about 18 months now and to be honest has been far more successful than I could ever have imagined when starting up a quiet site to post my thoughts on defence issues of the day. It is a tremendous challenge to keep generating articles over this time, and in particular to provide meaningful comment rather than reportage.

Those of you who've written blogs will appreciate the weight of expectation that falls on an authors shoulders. It is very hard to continuously generate work for a blog and keep it alive, rather than stale. I have always held to the view that when I run out of things to say, then that’s probably the time to shut the site down. I do not think I am there yet, and there is plenty more out there that I wish to write about, but I would like to get across to readers that it can be quite hard to write about things sometimes. Its also hard to try and keep a balance in subjects – looking at the site statistics, I find that the most keenly observed and commented upon articles tend to be naval related, usually closely followed by matters linked to the MOD. I do try to keep a balance on what I write about, but as this site is usually driven by what is in the news or the discussion forums, it can be a bit overbalanced in one form or another at times. Similarly, I try not to write about things which I may have some prior understanding of, but where my knowledge or exposure is now fading – there is nothing more dangerous than having someone write about something now that they used to know about!

I must confess to feeling a sense of frustration recently that there has been a significant growth in what I would describe as offensive comments, designed to attack myself as an individual rather than add to a debate. I've deleted these comments, but while on holiday this week, I must confess to seriously considering closing this site down. It is demoralising to spend a lot of my own personal time writing only to find anonymous trolls feeling it is appropriate to attack me for no reason beyond their own twisted agenda. The frustration that comes from spending my scarce time cleaning up after a trolling outbreak is beginning to outweigh the pleasure I get from writing for this site.

Those of you who know me in real life know that I'm about to get married in the very near future. This means that there will be a gap of about 4-6 weeks starting later this month where the site won’t be updated as I'm afraid the wedding and subsequent honeymoon must take priority over commenting on the affairs of the day!

On my return in early October, I hope to be able to return revitalised, refreshed and able to once again blog away, commenting in my own time on those defence issues which I find of personal interest. In the interim, if there are subjects you’d like to see raised, or commented on, then why not send me an email and put them forward. If I think I can cover it, then I will do my best to do so. 



  1. Just found your blog, keep up the good work!

  2. Please keep bloging Sir Humph, although I don't comment much I find your blogs informative, thought provoking and certainly gets me away from my narrow regimental experience in which I did my service to the bigger defence world.

    I would like to know your thoughts on the scrapping of Nimrod - although that is now ancient history.

  3. Sir H, really enjoy your blog and I must say there's no expectation on my part for content - say something when there's something to be said.

    I find your blogs quite insightful and I'm intrigued as to who you are.....i work in the MoD.

    Congratulations to your good lady and yourself on the wedding!

  4. Sir H, drop me a line if you want to chat about this offline, know exactly where you are!

  5. Congrats for the wedding Sir H :)

    Ignore the negative stuff, as you know; you get that anywhere...especially on the internet. I take it certain minded people have simply been offended by the harsh words of reality from an informed mind, let them continue to place their heads in the beach... I do like how you comment on recent/current events and provide a more refined and balanced "insider" opinion/thought to balance the media and out-of-the-loop blogs out there.

    Enjoy the down time C:

  6. Congratulations on your marriage.

    I know the feeling of trolls. Just keep your head up and believe in yoruself. This is a great defence matters blog no matter what people think. It ranks even higher than most UK/Western military commentaries.

  7. Congrats on your impending nuptials. And keep up the good work :)

  8. Please don't stop - I find your blog balanced and informative. Enjoy your wedding and honeymoon.

    Maybe you need a friend to moderate the posts on your behalf?

  9. I am a young 23 year old man, i have a deep interest in military matters and foreign policy. Your articles are always balanced and well thought out, I Throughly enjoy your blog, particularly naval related articles, as you highlighted.

    Congratulations on the wedding

    Cheers, Sellers

  10. Enjoy your time away with those that matter to you most. Those who attack from anonymous names clearly have much to hide...or they're senior crabs and pongos searching for a role post SDSR15. Keep up the good work please.

  11. William Butler Yeats seems appropriate, in the final lines below. (Although people intent on matrimony normally incline towards his Cloths of Heaven)

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Keep up the good work, and hit the 'delete' key without a second thought. And don't take it personally. If they weren't trolling you they'd be shouting at their Mum's TV during Britain's Got talent.

  12. This is one of the most informed and informative blogs on defence on the Internet, so it would be a great shame to let the idiots win. Your posts are always reasoned, lively and thought provoking. Perhaps us appreciative lurkers need to drown out the trolls from time to time.

    Good luck with the wedding and enjoy your honeymoon.

  13. Keep up the good work and don't be put off. I like reading the blog and look forward to it.

    Congratulations on the marriage and good luck and best wishes for married life.

  14. Another civvy here with an interest in defence/foreign policy. I've been reading your blog/contributions to ARRSE for years now and consider you one of the most sensible out there. This is the first time that I've ever written on any defence-type blog or forum so you can rest assured that there are people out there who read what you write but perhaps don't respond directly.

    Best of luck for the future.

  15. Congrats on you impending nuptials, Sir. H., I hope the both of you find happiness in each other for many year to come.

    As for your blog, I enjoy it very much. I seldom agree with your conclusions, but you do make me think and, though I don't post often, I check in every day to see what you and your correspondents are saying.

    So please don't let the thoughtless idiots grind you down, find away to defeat them or at least go around them (some good ideas up-thread).

    Good luck with the wedding and God bless.

  16. Congratulations on forthcoming nuptials Sir H. The day will pass far too quickly, but enjoy it and good luck for the future.

    Trolls are trolls. Just ignore and delete if you can. Or otherwise turn off the comments for while and give yourself a break.


  17. Run, while you still can ;)

    But keep blogging.

  18. Congratulations! I'll be waiting eagerly for you to return, because you're far more clear-sighted about the realities of the present in defence than any other source I've found on the net. Far too many commentators see everything through the glorious past, and won't accept that the present, better or worse, is *different*.

  19. Congratulations and best wishes to you both.

    Please don't underestimate your talent. This blog is one of the best around on defense matters. It's well balanced, informative and analytical. My view is that you should not feel obliged to come up with something just for the sake of it. Wait for the rising humours.

    Bon Voyage.

  20. Congratulations and all good wishes to yourself and your future wife...this is a great Blog, and I would miss your well informed thoughts a great deal, although I do not comment regularly...not least because I am technically incompetent!

    Please keep up the good work, or find some way to team up with TD and Chris B and create a real humdinger of a "Purple" Defence Blog...


  21. I wish to add to the sentiments above and hope that they help in your decision to stay blogging. I enjoy what you post very much and find your articles very informative and balanced. the internet is full of internet "hardmen" who abuse behind a computer screen just try to remember that there really sad nobody's crying for attention.

  22. Trolls are the price of success. I look forward to reading your posts again in the autumn and very best wishes in the meantime.

  23. congrats in marriage and i look forward to your return in October.

  24. Please dont give up. I don't always agree with you but what you have to say is a valuable insight in the defence debate and the closest thing we have to an 'MoD insider'.

    As someone who runs a similar blog, I have experienced similar issues with trolls as well as the pressure to keep posting good quality stuff. As a freely provided blog you are under no obligation to post so relax and just do it when you have the time and inspiration - you will generally find the audience is forgiving of gaps anyway. Keep up the good work!


    1. no technically your blog is different and far less informed that this one.

  25. This is definitely one of the top defence blogs, with an analytical focus second to none. It would be a big loss to see it go. Hope to see it continue.

    All the best for the wedding.

  26. Thank you all for the extremely kind comments, which are very much appreciated.
    I think I will be posting a few more articles this month, and would anticipate a temporary pause from late Aug to very early Oct depending on how the 'wedmin' goes!
    Hopefully there should be a new article up later this week if all goes to plan.

  27. Keep going, Sir H.
    You're too good to surrender to the trolls!

    About TD's comment "Sir H, drop me a line if you want to chat about this offline, know exactly where you are!"
    You aren't talking about the same woman, are you?


  28. I rather expect that those who enjoy your blog are by far the silent majority - as others have said, feel free to limit posts by all means, I've always enjoyed the fact that this site contains a great deal of measured thought on current affairs topics rather than content simply pushed out for the sake of putting something new up.

    Many congratulations on your upcoming marriage and long may your superlative blog continue!

  29. At risk of sounding like an echo :

    Don't let the buggers get you down (but consider tightening up on anon commentators)

    The good stuff is worth waiting for - don't feel under any pressure to write for the sake of having something new, we have RSS feeds to alert us when you've written stuff. But this is one of those corners of the blogosphere that's always worth dropping in on - not just because it's rare to have someone in your position blogging, but it's combined with an easy writing style and analysis that's worth having. Long may it continue.

    Never quite sure about congratulating someone on a wedding, surely it should either be commiserating on the life sentence or congratulating on having found the future Lady Appleby in the first place. So consider appropriate noises made, just remember Ogden Nash's advice :

    "To keep your marriage brimming,
    With love in the loving cup,
    Whenever you're wrong, admit it;
    Whenever you're right, shut up."

  30. I have enjoyed reading your articles and appreciate your patient explanation of the issues. It leaves us much better informed. Many thanks for all your efforts, which I hope you continue even after matrimony. But you don't need to feel under any pressure to post.if the muse does not take you.

    Illegitimis non carborundum. (Apologies to Bernard if Sir H has a B).

    Good luck on your Wedding.

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