Tuesday 18 August 2020

Raedwald RIP

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.



Elby the Beserk said...

Hear hear. This is very sad indeed. Lils and I were both worried over the silence, as he was the most reliably regular blogger. Can't say more than what Nick said above. A good 'un. RIP. We'll raise a glass tonight.

Charles said...

What sad news. I enjoyed the posts and he was obviously a sound and intelligent man. RIP.

david morris said...

Nicely done, ND.

Thank you

Bill Quango said...

Thank you Nick.
Speaks for us all.

The last of the other embryonic, independent bloggers that I still visited regularly.
Alas, no more.

Lilith said...

This is so sad. We "owe" each other a beer. Never met him but always hoped to. Thank you Nick.

Dave from Bolton said...

Like you Nick, I didn't know his name, didn't know what he looked like or even if he was married or had a family, yet I regarded him a friend, someone I could have got happily drunk with.
His was the first blog I opened in a morning (he always posted early) and he was so consistent that I feared the worst when both his blog and his Twitter feet stopped in July.
Captain Ranty, Anna Racoon and now Radders; all giants of the blogosphere. RIP.

E-K said...

A fine tribute to a fine man.

He'll be missed very much.

Anonymous said...

An intelligent man, who spoke with the authority you only get from real experience and achievement. He was always worth a read. He educated and amused me. It's a real shame he didn't get to enjoy much of his retirement. Taken from us too young.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for that very generous appreciation of Raedwald. His posts will be missed.

patently said...

Oh no!

A fine eulogy, Nick. Thank you. He will indeed be missed.

John in Cheshire said...

If like to add my commiserations to Raedwald's family.

I hope he on his way up and not down. And pretty that is so.

The worry is that all the good guys are a dying breed and it's unclear where the younger ones are, who need to carry on the campaign against tyranny and lies.

At least Raedwald made a positive contribution and that's more than most of us do.

CityUnslicker said...

Well said indeed Nick.

Anonymous said...

He will be missed by those who read and don't comment too. Andrew

Nick Drew said...

Maybe an encouragement for more to pitch in, then?

All voices wanted

subrosa said...

Such a heartfelt tribute to Raedwald and my condolences to his family. He was a great support to me when I was blogging regularly and since I stopped his page was on my daily read list. I will miss him more than I realise right this minute.

SJK said...

Very well said. I hope his blog posts survive in the aether to inspire future conservatives.

Anonymous said...

I'm feeling bad now that we had a little BTL ding-dong on these very pages a couple of months back - I think he took me as damning with faint praise when I said "he's a fine chap, but.. (take issue here)" but I meant it.

One of the last of the old wave of bloggers. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him (except when he wants to sample some of that eternal rest!).


PS - talking of Blogger


Thud said...

A good man, I disagreed with him many times but was always up for his next post, he will be genuinely missed by many.

Anonymous said...

RIP Raedwald.

I can pay him no finer compliment than to say he so reminded me of my own father in his wisdom and common sense.

Vanessa said...

Condolences to those who knew him. Such a sad loss to those who only knew him through his blog too. I admired his knowledge, his intelligence and his vision. RIP Raedwald.

James Higham said...

Hmmmm, need to post a second time on Radders and shall refer to this post and that of Sackers. Still in shock.

Timbo614 said...

I didn't know him outside of reading blogs but I did mostly tend to agree with his views and suggestions on various topics.

A nice post Nick, my sincere condolences to his family and friends.

I've only been lurking and not commenting recently because I have had a tragedy in my own immediate family recently and my usual interest and joviality have deserted me temporarily.

Nick Drew said...

Condolences to you, Timbo. Lurk away for as long as it takes - we know you're out there. Always welcome round here

Mr SG said...

Very sad news. His site was always the first port of call on my daily round of decent blog and news sites. I thought he may have been taking a well earned break but then again he usually advised of any upcoming outages. His perspective and wisdom will be sorely missed. My condolences to his family and friends.

Graeme said...

It's so sad. So many of his recent posts seemed to refer to jobs he was doing. Either he died while working a lathe or... horrible lingering death. I hope for the former

Wildgoose said...

He was a daily read for me. He will be missed. RIP.

Scrobs. said...

Very moving eulogy Nick, thank you.

Like just about everyone in the blog world, Raeders was always on the sidebar, and likely to be top of the list each morning.

I found his attention to detail outstanding, especially when discussing the minutiae of the failure of politicians and wasters - always something he must have enjoyed writing as well!

Looking back over some previous notes on Scrobs, I found that he was thinking of giving up around 2015, but bounced back of course, and then, when he decamped to Austria, I wondered if he'd slow down, but 'oh no', he didn't, and I learned even more from his work from then on!

I was going to try and do a post myself Nick, but having read yours, I couldn't even think of matching it.

'Bye Raeders - you really are going to be missed here!


jim said...

Raedwald was definitely one of the better bloggers. Agree with him or not, he will be sadly missed. A top class commenter on the state of the world.

The blogging scene has changed a lot over the last decade. Remember The Secret Policeman, or The Magistrates Blog or Charon. Remember the Health Service insiders or The Secret Civil Servant. All gone.

Now there seem very few good independent blogs around. Maybe no time or the authorities have put the frightners on or there is corporate media and think-tank capture. That essential spark of piss and vinegar seems to have drained away.

Anonymous said...

Saddened to hear this, I always enjoyed reading his posts. He will be missed.

@jim, I think blogging has tottered as social meedja took over, which is a shame as it's the epitome of ephemeral, whereas blog posts came with a longer lifespan.

But everything old comes round again in new clothes.

Nick Drew said...

@ everything old comes round again in new clothes

I'm old - and when I come round again, it's usually in old clothes ...

(I'll get my old coat)

E-K said...

Ha ha !

YDG said...

I'm another one that knew him only through his blog and comments here. I'll miss his optimism and insight.

Anonymous said...

Another long term lurker both here and over at Raedwald.

I’ll miss him. RIP


Ilia said...

Dear all,

Firstly I want to thank you for your kind words for Raedwald. I’m his niece (you can call me Ilia), and the family are still taking a while to let the news sink in. We only found out ourselves yesterday, so it was rather a shock to learn of his death.

We don’t know what it was or when it happened, or even where to go from here. My family and I are doing okay, or at least we will be eventually.

Many of you only knew him as Raedwald, or Radders. I knew him as Uncle Mikey. I wasn’t very familiar with his blog, but if it’s okay, I’d like to share the kind of person I knew him as.

He was truly a magnificent man. The kindest gentleman you’ll ever meet. He was intelligent, insightful, caring, and was always keen to offer helpful words of wisdom whenever we needed them most. Filled with stories about all the places he’d travelled to and all the things he had done (my favourite story was when he was in Vienna before the coming down of the wall in ‘89 where he spent an evening with a group of Czech exiles in a Czech exile bar and the drunker they got the more fearful that they had been penetrated by a Soviet spy). The last time I saw him was in Vienna, four years ago last week. He was a very jolly man who urged us to always see the good in a bad situation, to smile and laugh instead of feeling sorrowful. As a child I used to think he as a museum tour guide, because he knew so much about everything.

He would also send over w├╝rst and speck and homemade jam from Austria whenever he could, and would swoon over a hand-written letter. He was very old fashioned like that.

I admired my uncle greatly. I regret not having gone out to visit him on his little Austrian farm when I had the chance. I see a lot of comments saying he’d be fun to have a drink with, and I can tell you that this is nothing but true. He was fantastic company, always brought great conversation to any and every social circle. Always had an anecdote for everything. I hope to have travelled the world and experienced even just half as much as he did. I’ve moved cities twice in recent years and he’d tell me stories of the times he used to visit those places, and would urge me to go exploring as much as I could. He truly did live his life to the fullest.

Thank you again for your kind words: it’s been a comfort knowing he was so well-respected online. I wish I had more words to express what a wonderful man my uncle was.

Look after one another. We need compassion in times like these more than ever.


Jan said...

How nice to read Ilia's words about her uncle. I too am very sad he's gone and her words sum up how he came across to me. He seemed to know so much about so many different subjects and will be sorely missed.

Nick Drew said...

Many thanks for writing, Ilia, we all appreciate it, and commiserate with you warmly.

I wish I had more words... - no, you were most eloquent.

Is there any way you might (or would want to) get a photo of your uncle to us? There's an "email CU" link on the blog. Or you could post it on your own blog page.

andrew said...

Odd how people you never met affect you.
A random comment of his on immigrants and foreign registration led me to visit Vienna in Nov 19 (as it sounded like a more pragmatic place than Cologne).

Suff said...

Great words Nick. Ilia, so sorry for your loss he will be sorely missed my many.

YDG said...

RE: ND @ 1:49 pm

"Maybe an encouragement for more to pitch in, then?"

Would you consider hosting an occasional guest post? As a way for people to get their feet wet, sort of thing. Maybe as an occasional "Raedwald Memorial Post".

Nick Drew said...

We do. Kev, e.g., posted here recently.

Lengthy BTL comments get read. Interesting ones get responded to. We sometimes move a BTL comment up into an ATL post, or quote it.

Blogger hosts anyone (until the censorship really gets started)

Go for it. There are no rules (well, a few ...) - and remember what Schopenhauer said about blogging:


E-K said...

Thanks, Ilia

My condolences to you and your family.

Elby the Beserk said...


Bless you and thank you for a first hand picture of your uncle. I'm sorry for your loss; regardless, it is an extraordinary thing that so many of us who never met your Uncle feel his death as a personal loss.

Go well!

Thud said...

llia, nice to know a little about him.

Anonymous said...

Sad to hear of Raedwald's passing. He was a fair commentator, and knowledgable on a wide variety of subjects. I started the day reading his blog with my tea.

He will be missed.


Span Ows said...

OH dear, very late and sorry for it. Raedwald was one of only a handful of daily reads (down from dozens in the noughties). Almost entirely in agreement about most things but certainly not all. Clearly he was a jolly fellow but also clearly he a lot about a hell of a lot! And far more eloquent than most at putting it in writing. Sadly missed.