Technical difficulties

Eager readers may have noticed that I haven't updated for a while. This is partly due to an insanely busy schedule, and partly due to the fact that my hosting service has taken to killing my half-written updates at seemingly random intervals, invariably a few seconds before I remember to hit the 'save' button.

So, in lieu of the beautifully crafted thousand-word exploration of the process of publishing a book (which I'll rewrite once I've stopped crying), here's a brief highlights reel. I've written half a dozen pieces on British politics for Politico Europe, book reviews for the Telegraph of 'This Is London' and 'Comrade Corbyn' (both well worth reading, incidentally), pieces for CapX on Brexit, the NHS, immigration and the Sex Pistols. This last week has been particularly crazy: among other things, I've written on the Zika virus for the Wellcome Trust, Apple vs the FBI for the Telegraph, Britain's problems building tech giants for the FT and Facebook Instant Articles on Medium

Looming behind it all, however, has been THE BOOK. As of today, we've finalised the contents and cover, sent preview copies to various eminent figures and got them to say nice things, arranged various articles to coincide with publication, and I've even booked a venue for a party. (I say we because most of this has been taken care of by the team at Bloomsbury, who are immensely experienced at easing panicky novices through the process.) I've still got no idea how it will be received. But I want to be able to tell myself I did everything I could to give it the best chance to find an audience. More on that - much more - as publication date approaches...

What sort of people get into politics?

After reading this fascinating breakdown of Trump and Cruz's Facebook support, I decided to do the same for British politics - to see what sort of people are fans of Cameron and Corbyn.

You can find the results on Medium - this piece on Cameron and the Tories and this piece on Corbyn and Labour.

Some of the results, especially to do with the PM, were pretty surprising. But beyond that, this exercise was another reminder of how much data can tell us about the world, and how much of an advantage accrues to those who own and analyse it.

I could have spent days carrying out similar surveys on pretty much any interest group you can imagine - and if I didn't have to earn a living, I might well have.

In other news, I've written for Politico about the Mark Clarke scandal and the decision to bomb Syria - and reviewed Mike Savage's Social Class in the 21st Century for the Telegraph. It's a fascinating (if flawed) attempt to map Britain's new landscape of wealth, privilege and power - and another reminder of the power of data to tell us important and surprising things about the world...