In Brussels it’s reasonably easy. There I was (and indeed still am) the EU politics blogger nerd. So if there are events and conferences to attend I go to ones about EU politics on the web first and foremost. Then I will go to ones about institutional reform or centre left politics. It’s all quite simple.

But not so in London. What is my role in this city? It’s a bit hard to define, and the events here demonstrate that.

I attended and ran a session at Netroots UK, but the session was on fundraising and not about blogging or networking or party politics. I couldn’t attend the Fabians’ New Year conference but suppose I would have pottered along and have been generally underwhelmed. The RSA today ran an event with Evgeny Morozov about Wikileaks and I hadn’t even realised it was happening…

This weekend is ukgovcamp but I am not public sector enough for that, so will not be there, even though I know most of the organisers. Policy Network are running an event entitled “What future for Europe?” – worth going to that as it’s one of the few big EU events in London? But I wouldn’t have gone to something like that when I lived in Brussels, it’s too general. The Fabians have something similar a week later. I’m a leftish blogger and Fabian member, but their event doesn’t even have a programme yet… I will for sure be at eCampaigning Forum in Oxford in March, primarily an event for NGO campaign folks, even though I have done rather little work in that sector since the Atheist Buses. Further into the future I’ll probably be at PdF in NYC in June and the World Humanist Congress in Oslo in August.

What a mess!

More worryingly all of this sums up my general confusion being in London. What am I here? Am I a web nerd? A web comms trainer? An EU training person? How much am I about intellectual stuff, how much about practical training? Am I better off working with the public sector, with political parties, with non-partisan campaigns, or with NGOs? How much EU stuff should I do? How much UK stuff? How much blogging? How much party politics, either offline or online? At the moment I’m trying to do all of that, working silly hours, and have a rubbish bank balance. Something isn’t right.

Ideas how to fix it?

Photo: E01 “London Bus
February 8, 2008 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution


  1. @Gergely – not a bad idea. Wouldn’t be too hard to do either (although somewhat time consuming). Something someone in your building could do?

  2. Gergely

    Jon, just stumbled on this post, but it is exactly what I’ve been thinking about the last few days. Would it make sense to have an EU events calendar for London, just like there is one in Brussels by the French Perm Rep?

  3. In the day to day planning it does help having a boss, who take the choice out of my hands a little and definitely helps with the bank account problem. So part of the problem is working freelance/being your own boss.

    But doesn’t help with definition problem… Middle East, EU, Africa, Communication, China, G20, Energy&Climate… where to try and concentrate.

    I haven’t found a solution yet. My plan is to sit down and think about it… when I get the time 🙂

    My evening activity fits nicely in to the theme of prioritising one’s time, that I spent first part of evening (well actually second part after the first part was spent in the office) trying to organise a big whiteboard calendar of 2011

    ps. Looking at the title of the post, I thought you meant the multitude of cultural events and institutions in London, but I guess that’s for a different kind of blog…

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