Yes, it's true.
Finally, Wiggy has claimed a scalp.
And it isn't that of some thieving politician or some overpaid, jack-booted jobsworth. It's mine. Or, rather, it is that of my ruder sibling, for I am his twin—identical in every respect except that I swear a little less and indulge in fewer violent fantasies.
As many of you will know, I think that it is fair to say that The Daily Politics today was not an unqualified success, with Andrew "Wiggy" Neil concentrating not on the Libertarian Party or its policies (as I had been briefed) but on one single post out of the 5,500 or so on The Kitchen.
But, let's face it, he could have picked any one of about half of those thousands of posts and come up with some pretty damning stuff.
Don't get me wrong—I meant every word of the sentiments expressed. But the way in which I put it was, sometimes, just not... er... politic. In fact, as in real life, I enjoyed conjuring up repulsive and offensive images: anyone who has heard me in the right mood and in full flow that I can be every bit as perverse as on The Kitchen.
But, additionally, my blogging was driven—at least in the early days—by a burning anger and righteous hatred of just about anyone in authority, and this ire was fuelled as much by the real life circumstances that I found myself in at the time as by the unpleasantness of those who rule us.
And so The Devil's Kitchen grew as a cathartic outlet for my anger—and the language and imagery were equally violent.
As long-term readers might have noticed, my language has become, in general, far less vicious and less sweary. This was not, as some implied, because I sold out—it was because I was generally calmer and happier. Don't get me wrong: I am still disgusted by those who rule us, and even more repulsed by the idea that anyone can rule me—but these days it is more of a low, simmering rage. As such, The Devil's Kitchen had already become more mild (bar the occasional outburst) than in earlier years.
In the early days of blogging, most of us guarded our anonymity very carefully and I have always been twitchy about people using my real name. I remember when Shot By Both Sides was removed because its author, John, made some comments that annoyed a particularly powerful lobby—a lobby that found his name and then threatened to damage the business for which he worked.
Whilst not quite the same, something similar happened tonight. My boss was phoned by a very unimpressed friend who had recognised me on The Daily Politics. My boss—who, whilst knowing that I blogged, has never let it concern him—phoned me and expressed some disquiet. I should point out that he did not tell me to do anything and nor has he tried, in any way, to force me to do anything about this situation other than talk it over tomorrow.
However, it took me only a few minutes to make this decision...
The simple fact is that I love my job and I am now in quite a high-profile position: as the company grows, I am going to become yet more exposed. And the fact is, I want to be exposed.
But I want to be exposed because I am part of a company that has created great products and made people's lives better—not because I let my nasty imagination run riot when writing about how a union hypocrite didn't have the courage of her professed convictions. And neither that nasty piece of work nor Wiggy are worth risking my job for.
It is very difficult to delete anything on the internet and I am not going to pretend that I can do so. However, gradually the caches will fade away, and those parts of The Devil's Kitchen that are most damaging—the incredibly violent (though fantastical) demises of various politicos and their grubby little hangers-on—will fade away eventually.
And so, here we are—with The Devil starting with a clean slate. The tone of the blog will not change much—I am still a passionate libertarian and loather of our illegitimate masters—but the language will be much like my latter, less vitriolic posts rather than my more unpleasant death wishes. In time, I may transfer some of my better, more relevant, writing over here too. I hope that some of the authors—especially those, like The Filthy Smoker, who quickly became as much part of the fabric of The Kitchen as myself—will also carry on contributing.
As you will have noticed, the URL is the same and, I hope, the RSS feed will still work. The template is, at present, pretty minimal but I have been meaning to revise the look and feel—as well as making the blog as Accessible as possible—for a little while now.
I hope that all of you—readers, commenters, and contributors—will continue to partake of The Devil. I, for one, am quite sanguine about archiving my old material; nor am I totally surprised—this day has been coming for a little while (it was one of the reasons that I switched to a custom URL some time ago).
The Kitchen is dead: long live The Devil!