This wasn't the original title and the observant amongst you will realise that another significant milestone is rapidly approaching for this blog. At some point in the next few hours a reader will become the 2 millionth hit, which is astonishing given that it took 4 years to get the first pesky million, but only 9 months to get the second.
By rights I should be celebrating, but in truth I don't really feel like it because my mood mirrors that of the blog. It perfectly reflects the mood of anger, sadness and realisation that we lost the fight and now have to come to terms with what can only be described as a fucking disaster. Please excuse my language, but TR evokes strong emotions and we all know the horrors we warned it would bring are already happening.
Despite what was said at the self-congratulatory MoJ love-in last week, we know the Cabinet Office were right all along - TR is not deliverable - but it's going to take a few months for that fact to become all-too-painfully obvious to the MoJ.
Anyway, back to the blog. If I'm honest, I'm hugely proud of this little effort, run as it is from the comfort of the living-room sofa. Like all things, it may have had humble beginnings as a collection of self-indulgent rants of a disillusioned, middle-aged Probation Officer, but it's long-since morphed into a platform that eventually played a not-insignificant part in a battle to try and save the whole bloody profession.
It's clearly been able to fill a vacuum and satisfy a need and that's borne out by the figures. At significant moments in our battle with TR, viewing figures have rocketed, the high point being reached towards the end of last year, but with a steady decline ever since:-
I think it's interesting to note what the 5 all-time most popular blog posts have been about. The first, 'A Break in Transmission' doesn't really count because it's when I went awol in Berlin for a week and decided trying to post would be just too difficult. So that makes 'A Turning Point' the most popular blog post ever from last May about Napo's decision not to renew Harry Fletchers temporary contract. Had I known that 'Latest From Napo 50' would be the second most popular, I'd have given it a snappier title.
I'm really pleased that the remaining two most popular blog posts '5 Grayling Lies' and 'Guest Blog 9' were both written by Joanna Hughes. It's been an absolute pleasure working with Joanna over the last year or more and I'd like to record my best wishes as she embarks on a new career, sadly outwith probation.
And that nicely enables me to confirm what should be obvious to all; namely that this blog has long since ceased to be the work of one very grumpy individual and has instead become an amazingly collaborative venture. It's continued to evolve, educate, inform, infuriate and hopefully support and entertain in equal measure. Whether it reaches 3 million hits will depend entirely on whether people still feel it's useful and whether there's an appetite and willingness to contribute.
The campaigning mode has been left behind; the audit trail has been prepared for historians and the task of recording TR mayhem is well underway. Without you scouring newsfeeds, sending stuff in, writing guest blogs and leaving witty, erudite and informative comments, there would be no blog and no 2 million hits nearly under our belt. So, I will be raising a glass tomorrow and sincerely,
thank you all!