Radders was a great friend to this blog, and I trust we were to him. I never met him in person (he was due to attend one of our Xmas drinks but for some reason he didn't make it) - but we'd definitely have enjoyed a night over the beers. His not having posted for three weeks caused disquiet - such a stalwart blogger - and it seems the worst has befallen. If more details of his personal life now emerge, there's many of us who'll be interested to learn them.
From never having met the man, there is still much to be said from his consistent, colourful and extensive blogging. He described himself as an irredeemable optimist but was also clearly a fine conservative, and the two traits don't always coincide. A massive supporter of localism and the wisdom of Burke's Little Platoons, he was also a good European - warmly espousing catholic internationalism but despising globalism in general, and Berlaymont in particular. As firm as he was in his views, he was also ready to acknowledge mistakes, and man enough to leave them up online for all to see (none of the nasty, furtive re-writing of a Redwood or a Cummings).
Raedwald had principles, alright: and he was clearly also practical to the nth degree. You just know he was a man you'd want on your side in a fight: the supremely handy sort who'd rebuild the world after an invasion of Triffids. At the same time he was clearly of a philosophical bent, his abstractions coming from a solid and wide-ranging empiricism in the best English tradition - an empiricism based in turn on his quite remarkable range of richly-enjoyed experiences. His tales of Human Reality came from rural East Anglia and the boatyard; from the tough world of quantity surveying and project management at the sharp end of the building trade; and from hardcore bohemian Soho! Firmly grounded, widely experienced real-world thinkers like Radders give one all the more contempt for the malcontent bedsit lefties with brains the size of planets, who clearly couldn't change a three-pin plug, yet who cultivate gigantic Hegelian fantasy-systems on nothing more than instant coffee, envy and bile.
We needed Radders for some important fights yet to come. Much of the UK Left is currently in a slough of despond, having childlishly invested everything in Corbyn. They seem to despair of pretty much everything just now: but another, less fragile part of the dark side is limbering up for a massive assault on free speech, hoping to subborn the universities, the television, and ultimately social media - one all can too easily imagine platforms trading off the freedoms of expression they currently facilitate for their own freedom to make money. (They are businesses, after all.) And then there are the supranationalists ...
Radders, despite attracting some very odd BTL traffic, maintained a stout line in critical commentary that was extremely valuable to us all. We'd already lost Anna Raccoon: and now there's one fewer voice to speak truly and plainly in the culture-wars ahead.
How I wish he'd joined us for those beers.