Politics, they say, is a tough old world. It can be, but I've survived in it quite amicably for over quarter of a century. I don't mind being involved in robust and at times torrid debate. In fact, if truth be known, I've found it easier than in some other things I've been involved in. You tend to know exactly where you stand with people, for a start.
Being involved in politics has been good for me - it's given me most of my friends, some of whom are lifelong and I love being part of a super community of Lib Dems across the whole UK and beyond. In the blogosphere, too, I've come across some really good, bright and funny people who more than make up for any slight hurt feelings at harsh comments.
What I'm trying to say is that while politics and blogging can be as frustrating as hell sometimes, I don't let them get me down. It's only if anything threatens my friends or family that I get really upset. I tend to be quite protective of the people I'm involved with. Mostly so of my lovely family, of course, but also of friends. And during the last few elections when I've been responsible for our candidates, I've wanted to give them as much support as was humanly possible. The phrase mother hen was used more than once about me in jest, and probably appropriately.
I am upset this afternoon to read that Subrosa has stopped blogging, completely out of the blue. It's not as if she wants to, either, but someone has found out her identity and has made her aware of that in a way that has made her uneasy. Stephen has also expressed his sadness at what's happened.
I don't agree with Subrosa on a fair number of issues, but I've enjoyed reading her blog and discussing things with her over these past few months. I love the sheer range of the things she posted about - the funny little video clips and Hootsmon headlines that would brighten a dull afternoon. Her passionate support for our troops and her doubts about the continuing mission in Afghanistan will be very much missed in the blogosphere.
On a personal level, she has shown me nothing but kindness and support during my illness. I'd only have to say I was worried about something on Twitter and she'd provide me with really good information and references to hslp me.
I can kind of get the desire to find out who is writing anonymous blogs if they're putting out defamatory material, but there are many anonymous bloggers who have perfectly valid reasons for wanting to mask their true identity. It makes me angry that people can't respect that. Subrosa's blog was of the highest quality and she didn't indulge in any sort of personally abusive behaviour. I was horrified earlier this year when the Nightjack blogger's real identity was forced out by the Times newspaper. There you had a serving Police Officer who was able to give us a valuable taster of what his working life was like, an insight that helps understanding.
There are some people who for various reasons can't or won't blog under their own names but their viewpoints and experiences are worth reading about, they inform, they challenge and sometimes they delight. Subrosa is one of those bloggers.
I'm going to miss her, especially as she's one of the relatively few female political bloggers in Scotland. There is a bit of hope, though. She says that
"Who knows, perhaps when investigations are complete I may feel I can return, but I would have to be totally convinced the safety of my family and home were not at risk"
It's awful that someone who has done no more than entertain and challenge us with her thought provoking blog feels she has to give it up because she fears for the safety of her home and family. I don't know who it is who has uncovered her identity and it may be that they actually meant no harm and will be able to reassure her on that point and she'll be back soon. The nature of the blogosphere is that people will drift in and out, but I'm very sad that someone has felt forced out in these circumstances.