Reviving G W Foote’s legacy helped me shed a burden of despair

Reflections on the first month of The Angry Atheist

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FEBRUARY 1 marked my 76th birthday. Unlike my miserable 75th, which came a fortnight before I was sacked from my post of Freethinker editor, it was a day to celebrate the positive new turn my life had taken.

After spending almost a year in the wilderness, grinding my teeth over the fact that I’d been robbed of something deeply precious to me—the thrill of the daily hunt to find news reports that demonstrate how stupid, destructive and laughable religious belief is—I decided to take the plunge and launch The Angry Atheist.

A key factor in that decision was the fact that a great number of people desperately missed the aggressively anti-religious style that made the old FT one of the world’s top-ranking atheist sites.

For the best part of 2022 I was bombarded with messages from long-time supporters who were horrified by the anodyne direction the Freethinker took under a clueless new editorial team.

Many of these supporters—mindful of the fact that I did not have the financial resources to establish a site that that would bring G W Foote‘s founding principles back to the fore—chipped in enough money for me to create a basic blog.

Despite the demands for a new site, I had low expectations for The Angry Atheist. New sites find it incredibly hard to attract visitors, and many fail in their first year.

In my first post on January 3 I wrote:

If you think I should carry on with The Angry Atheist please let me know …

But if you think I am on a hiding to nothing; that I have little or no chance of getting the following I had when I edited the FT, please tell me.

If the majority reading this piece believe I should accept my fate and simply slide into obscurity I will simply abandon this project and stagger off into senile future.

To say I was blown away by the “wecome back” messages and donations I received would be a gross understatement. So, fired with enthusiasm I put in a great deal of effort in a bid to ensure its success.

The result: In less than a month I gained more traction than the new FT accomplished since its launch in last March when it posted the following introductory message in which the word Freethinker is invisible:

The Freethinker has always relied on the generosity of its readers to stay afloat, and is heavily dependent on its historic endowment. But our remaining funds do not cover our costs, and continued support from readers is vital in ensuring a sustainable future [my emphasis]. All subscription fees, donations and legacies received from our supporters will be used to ensure that G.W. Foote & Co. Ltd. and the Freethinker can continue to promote ‘the best of causes’ (in the words of Foote’s friend, the novelist George Meredith) for many years to come.

That’s pure bullshit coming from a company that’s sitting on assets exceeding more than £600,000!

In one year alone—2020/21— around £30,000 of that came from donations and bequests that I had personally solicited from long-standing FT supporters.

Frankly I have no idea how many people visit the FT site now. Granted, it’s no longer the eyesore it was at its launch, but the makeover is simply a triumph of design over content.

Readers’ comments

A good measure of a site’s success is the number of comments it attracts. Since December 22 the new FT attracted a big fat ZERO. Hardly surprising given that there’s absolutely nothing in it to spark readers’ engagement.

In just one month The Angry atheist attracted 156 at the last count!

That alone tells me that my decision to launch The Angry Atheist was one of the best I have ever made.

My heartfelt thanks go to all those who provided me with the determination to haul myself out of the trough of depression I found myself in during 2022 when it became clear that, not only was I jobless, but that G W Foote’s legacy, one that I’d nurtured for almost 25 years, had been utterly destroyed.

You can also support my work via PayPal, Buy Me a Coffee or GofundMe.

If you spot any typos in this piece, please email me at

2 responses to “Reviving G W Foote’s legacy helped me shed a burden of despair”

  1. Broga: You are doing a great job Barry. I can give you no greater compliment than saying that The Angry Atheist is like the old Freethinker back in business and doing its job in a way people want to read. And that means short, pithy, aggressive articles zeroing in on targets that deserve to be hit. It would sad indeed if the old Freethinker had been allowed to fade away.

    I hope the comments on your splendid articles continue to come and increase. They were a pleasure to read in the old Freethinker and they are shaping up the same way here.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Well said Broga. It is a splendid start for Barry and the AA.

      I have been a devout nullifidian for over 70 years, like Barry, I have an aggressive, no-holds barred approach to religion. I am tired of non-theist organisations that adopt a tolerant approach to the existence and practice of religion (whilst religion exists, it will proselytise and dictate the way we live at every opportunity); I will never be content whilst religion is extant anywhere in the world.

      After the death of my 43 year-old wife (also a devout atheist) 18 years ago, her religious sister told my daughters, age 8 and 10, that their mother had gone to hell because she had not accepted the man-on-the-stick; as a result of this, I became so picky-choosy about a future partner’s beliefs that I remain single!

      After my next, very small monthly donation tomorrow, I am tripling it (still a regrettably small amount) to help keep this brilliant site afloat.

      Liked by 2 people

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