Now while Guido Fawkes, Obnoxio the Clown and Jack of Kent do not compare to such brilliance, they continue in a wonderful tradition of anonymous – or rather semi-anonymous – commentary on politics. A cursory glance at 18th century newspapers show a parade of similar pen names – names adopted almost as nommes de guerre in the political battles of the time. Such a practice allowed for the writer to attack the sacred – to criticise the king or the church – and to use language that would not otherwise be permitted.
And the tradition continued throughout the 19th century – we now know Boz as Charles Dickens but his coruscating critique of the social conditions of that time was published in magazines under that pseudonym. And into the 20th century – we forget too readily the contributions of ‘Beachcomber’ and the glorious right-wing whimsy of Peter Simple.
So carry on blogging under an assumed name – or your own name – under whatever name you want to. It is part of the writing tradition not just some adopted ‘handle’ in the manner of CB radio as the blogger formerly known as Jack of Kent would have it. And Jack – or David – it’s a bit rich as a criticism from a blog shortlisted for the Orwell Prize! Or should we rename it the Blair Prize – now that would be funny!