My 2021 in review

Another year, meaning it is time for yet another reflective blog post.

By which I mean, it is time for me to go back to my “My 2020 in review” post, copy the intro and the structure, and adapt. Sorry to everyone who was expecting something altogether bespoke.

Anyway, readers of my blog will know that I have uploaded a short post at the end of my blogging year since 2013. I traditionally try to offer some thoughts for the year, merging that with analysis of my most read posts from that year. Here I go again.

What to say about 2021, then? Personally, and boringly, this year I mainly focussed on just getting on with things like the day-job and some other roles that came my way. The most notable of such roles was my appointment to the Scottish Land Fund committee. This has been great, both in terms of working with some interesting people on the committee itself and in the background, and also in terms of being able to support some community schemes across Scotland. In a way, being on the committee has stopped me pontificating on this blog or on social media about land reform stuff (in part because I’ve been busy, and in part because I don’t want to accidentally loop the committee into anything). Hopefully I’ve been able to make a contribution in a different way though. For those who were expecting more in the way of online Combe droning, I’m sorry/you’re welcome [delete as appropriate].

Mind you, I did contribute to this BBC Scotland/Red Sky Productions programme, Who Owns Scotland? [in episode 2], so you might find that of interest if you’ve not seen that already. It’s on the iPlayer until October 2022. I also participated in a few podcast episodes (with Professor Bram Akkermans for his PropertyCon podcast, with Adam Calo for his Landscapes project, and an episode of the Local Zero Podcast), plus I contributed to a Scottish Books Long Weekend event (on what’s next for Scotland). I might also mention a personal favourite event that I was involved with in November through my Clinical Legal Education Organisation role, namely an online event about law clinics and climate adaptation. Well done to all the students at York, KCL and Strathclyde plus the other universities around the world who sent in contributions for putting on such a great event.

The aforementioned sorta-public Scottish Land Fund role also means I probably shouldn’t offer any razor sharp commentary on the Holyrood elections or anything else that’s been going down. Again, I’m sorry/you’re welcome.

I seem to be apologising a lot. Sorry about that. Anyway, I will promptly move to my blog breakdown.


My top five base drones of 2021 (excluding the blog’s churning home page and any posts from earlier years) were as follows:

In 1st place, a post about responsible access in whatever lockdown we were in in January 2021.

In 2nd place, a post about access being restricted at the site of the Scottish Parliament.

In 3rd place, a post about the future direction of private renting in Scotland.

In 4th place, a post about wrongful-termination orders and how they have shaken out when tenants have tried to pursue former landlords for dubious behaviour that, eh, encouraged them or a tribunal to bring a private residential tenancy to an end.

In joint 5th place (how exciting!), a post about joining the Scottish Land Fund committee (as mentioned above) and a post about the Land and Human Rights Advisory Forum of the Scottish Land Commission.

I also wrote about tenancy deposit protection and letting agent regulation for the Strathclyde Law Blog.

What next?

My main task in 2021 2022 will be navigating what is left of this pandemic, continuing to reflect on the changes to teaching practice this environment has entailed, and trying to get a bit more in the way of published work out of the metaphorical pipeline. 

As for anything else, last year I noted I would try to read a bit more for pleasure. I’m not sure I fully managed this tbh. I read Therapy?’s biography by Simon Young, a book about a cricket tour in Nazi Germany by Dan Waddell, books by Jon Ronson and Danny Boyle about public shaming and being rude respectively, and some David Baldacci stuff. Maybe I shouldn’t faff about on the internet so much.

Speaking of faffing about on the internet, thanks for reading. All the best for 2022. I’m sure that message will make all the difference. I said “All the best for [X year]” the previous two years and it all worked out.

About basedrones

Bachelor of Laws. Scots lawyer working at the University of Aberdeen. English law qualified. Took far too long to write this bio. Blogs on legal issues, with occasional veering into other purportedly intellectual stuff from time to time. Tweets about legal issues, education, law clinics, fitba, music, rogue cell division and not at all about politics at @MalcolmCombe.
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