Norm started blogging back in 2003, just shy of ten years ago, when the British blogging scene was relatively new and a handful of high-quality blogs stood out from the rest. Normblog quickly joined their ranks, and with a relentlessness matched possibly only by Tim Worstall for a single-author blog, provided us with high-quality, thoughtful posts on near enough a daily basis since.
One word springs to mind whenever I think of Norm, and it is unsurprising that this word is used in several of the tributes to him around the blogosphere: decent. Norm was a thoroughly decent person, a man from a different time and era from a lot of us bloggers, and perhaps as a result a gentleman who never resorted to vulgarity or insults. Despite his being firmly of the political left and a Marxist to boot, he gained the respect and affection from right wingers (such as myself) for being thoroughly polite in the face of disagreement, and for readily admitting the shortcomings of his own side. In addition, his love of cricket, football, literature, and music brought bloggers from all around the world to his place, and being featured in the famous Normblog profiles was a sign that a blogger had truly arrived on the scene.
I once had lunch in Norm’s house in West Didsbury with his wife Adele, and in person he was as much a gentleman as his blog suggested. Occasionally we used to exchange short emails on points of interest in his blog, and I am proud to say that I considered him my friend.
The blogosphere has lost a major organ with his passing. He will be missed.