The excellent, provocative, oft-infudiating (why not make up words? didn't Shakespeare?) website Spiked Online turns 10 today. They've had a great decade and the only change I hope to see going forward is that they learn how to correctly spell words such as draught, tyre, and colour.
From editor Brendan O'Neill's column on the anniversary:
We plan to be here for another 10 years, continuing to fight the good fight for freedom, progress, growth, tolerance and a bit of Enlightened spirit. Why? Why do we do what we do, and say what we say? When people ask me what spiked is all about, my first instinct is to reach for that great line from Alan Sillitoe's Saturday Night and Sunday Morning: 'Whatever they say I am, that's what I am not.' Because whatever spiked is, it is not contrarian. Our aim is not, as some of our critics claim, to say things simply for the sake of rattling cages.
spiked does not adopt political postures in order to annoy. But we understand why some people think that we do. Becausespiked subscribes to principles and ideals that were once taken for granted amongst certain sections of left-wing or radical-humanist thought, but which no longer are. And it is our attachment to those ideals, our commitment to freedom of speech, open-mindedness and a human-centred morality, which means that we often rub up against a political culture which not only now lacks faith in such values, but which sees them as undesirable. The accusation that spiked is contrarian is really testament to the shrinking of what is sayable and thinkable these days.
spiked has firm principles based on a commitment to the ideals of human liberation. Unfortunately, upholding those principles today often means dissenting from and being sceptical of both mainstream political thought and also the 'radical' outlook. Sospiked is for free speech, moral autonomy, tolerance and the democratic spirit. These sound like easy principles to endorse, but in modern political debate they frequently come with a 'but' attached. 'I am for free speech, but not for racists…'; 'I am for tolerance, but I won't tolerate climate change scepticism…'spiked prefers no 'buts' with its principles. And it is our war of words against the contemporary 'butting' of what were once seen as key Enlightened ideals that makes us appear to some as contrarians.
Check out O'Neill's Reason archive here.
As befits a crew that grew out of an old Trotskyite magazine (LM), there are serious differences between Reason's version of libertarianism and spiked's. But we'll get around to really mixing it up about 200 years into the future, when the march of progress (small p, please!) has advanced much further in every possible direction than it has thus far.