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On PB’s 16th birthday the UK is on the verge of a lockdown?

March 23rd, 2020

The pages from this morning’s papers could not be clearer about out what’s likely to happen next as the government tries to dampen the impact of the coronavirus epidemic. To confine large numbers of people in the homes is a big step but it might be the only way that it can be controlled at this stage.

In fact if you watched the briefing yesterday afternoon this was only a minor part to come out but it is clearly the next logical step if the virus is to be contained.

All this comes on the 16th birthday of this site which was established on March 23rd 2004 when the big domestic upcoming event was Ken Livingstone’s defence of his position of London mayor and of course there was the the build up to the 2004 White House election.

Four years earlier Ken had won the first London mayoral election as an independent beating the official Labour candidate in the process. A big question was whether being part of what was Tony Blair’s party was going to help or hinder him.

Certainly when we established the site all those years ago we had no sense that this was going to survive and build a significant audience. At the time I’m there was no Conservativehome or Guido Fawkes and I don’t think any of the other political blogs in existence then are still with us today.

At the time I was in my late 50s and working for the University of Oxford and it would be another three and a half years before I quit standard employment to make running PB my full-time job.

On this day just to say thank to all who have contributed to site’s success particularly my son Robert whose idea it was in the first place and all those who have acted in in one form or another to keep the site going.

Mike Smithson