Monthly Archives: June 2016

The Great Leap in the Dark

There are something things that make me incandescent. Chief among these is when politicians tell us that, whatever we thought about what they’ve just done, we need to accept it and move on. Do we really? Well in response, I can only say no wonder we don’t trust you. I will go on to say that two years is a long time and that “There’s many a slip between cup and lip”.

Now, in no way could I be described as an uncritical supporter of the EU. However, I voted by thinking about the issue and came to the conclusion that we’re better off in than out. In doing so, I was cognisant of a number of things. Foremost among these was the complete leap in the dark that was the Leave campaign’s position; a position that, three days later, is now publicly acknowledged. There was no plan other than saying whatever they thought that they could get away with. Unfortunately, some people believed them. What is worse is the atmosphere that the Leave campaign seems to have generated in parts of the country.

Now I live in a city where there are thousands of immigrants so have some experience of this. Indeed, my wife and I went for a walk along the canal yesterday and finished up in the centre of Dalston. It was like a human rainbow. So Mr Johnson (he of the Turkish great grandfather) what exactly is your problem?  Obviously not much of one as this blond bombshell is now telling us that it wasn’t really about immigrants at all! In addition, we have Mr Farage saying that the slogan emblazoned in large letters on the Leave campaign’s bus, about money for the NHS, was “a mistake” and a Tory MEP and Leave campaigner admitting that the trade deals that we manage to draw with the EU up will, likely, include clauses on the free movement of labour; not preventing it, obviously.  That last had Andrew Marr doing Basil Fawlty impressions with his head in his hands. Lastly (so far) those people who couldn’t wait for us to get out are now saying that it shouldn’t be rushed. Of course not, because it’s now one of them who will need to press the button and not the current Prime Minister. Depending on the circumstances at the time, that may well be the end of that person’s political career. If it’s the bookmakers’ current favourite, I can only say that it couldn’t be more apposite.

So, when you take such a great leap in the dark, as we now have, beware of getting what you wish for.

A Complete Leap in the Dark

There are momentous days in anyone’s life, some personal and some on a larger scale, the repercussions of which will determine their future. Today is one of those days. Gaynor and I went to bed soon after 10pm and woke at 5.45 to the news that the majority of those who took part voted in the UK referendum voted to leave the EU.

Now, I’m no special fan of the organisation for a whole number of reasons but, on balance, I thought that we were better in than out. Yesterday, however, the country took a giant (and unnecessary) leap in the dark and one that may well come back to bite future generations on the bum. Nobody knows how it will play out. What we do know, however, is that there are likely to be a number of years of uncertainty and upheaval while we try to disentangle ourselves.  This on top of even more austerity and the dismantling of many of those institutions that we hold dear. This morning the £ dropped in value by 10% and a certain Mr Farage said that the suggestion that the £350m we pay into the EU could be spent instead on the NHS was a “mistake”. So the lies and bullshit are already being exposed and privatisation awaits as we close down the supply of overseas staff that we rely on.

I wish you well, my fellow citizens and the next generation. I will probably manage as I’ve always done. Unfortunately, it’s your future that’s at stake and that looks likely to be in the hands of Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and others who I would sooner never have to have any dealing with. Untrustworthy doesn’t come anywhere near describing my feelings for any of them.

The real irony, however, is that this whole thing was self inflicted.  Happy landings, UK.

Break Your Own Glass Ceilings

Anyone who bothers to read what I write will know that the past few months have been ones of  change, something that has been the template for my life. This time, however, it’s different. You see, in the past, although I always ploughed my own furrow, it was often been in response to circumstance. This past year, it has started to be at my own volition and there’s both the satisfaction and the difficulty.

You see, my childhood template may not have been a good one, far from it. However, it was the only one I had. Those experiences defined me no matter how much I tried to pretend that they hadn’t. Indeed, as I told myself, they’d had no effect at all. The problem with that is that my denial didn’t change the reality of the situation, it just made me feel that it did. So, what was the manifestation of this in my day to day life?

Well, first and foremost, it meant that I would always try to create some sort of order out of chaos; a great benefit in my working life. It also meant that I was determined to have the last word and would argue for the sake of it. This argumentativeness a symptom of that small boy’s deep anger at his situation. Finally, I would always need to be right, even when I was manifestly wrong. This latter, my response to having little that was secure in my life. In this way was the carapace constructed. Unfortunately, this had a side effect which was that, what I used as a defensive shield, kept others out. The overall result was that the person who, more than anyone, else prevented me from doing things for me was myself.

So, why am I writing this today? Well, because I’m now creating my own template and, although it’s not too difficult, it can be unsettling. You see, many of those formative relationships that others take for granted, some kids didn’t have. So, if you like, we’re making bricks without straw, as I’ve done for much of my life. This time, however, I’m doing it for me and not as, in the past, for others. I am, in fact, taking my son, Matt’s, advice. In case you should think that this sounds a little self congratulatory, it isn’t meant to be. In fact creating some of the projects that I’ve done has given me the most enormous satisfaction. A satisfaction that I’m now getting from building the most important project of my life; a more rounded and easier person who believes in himself a little more. Almost as a by product, he’s letting people in and, although that’s nice, it’s actually quite scary. Perhaps, at last, that self imposed glass ceiling is being broken and that’s, surely, no bad thing.

The Road Not Taken

fork-in-the-road text

Among my favourite poems is this one, “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. For those who know me and/or read my blogs, the reasoning will be pretty obvious. It’s about what might have been in other circumstances.

Now you can either accept the cards you’ve been dealt with in life, as I did for 30 years, or you can do something about them as I’ve done for, what I call, my second life. That I’ve been pretty successful in that is a testament to my tagline, “All you have to do is try”. When you do this, you may succeed or fail; that, to me, is less important than the effort of trying itself. If you do that, you’ll find that change will take place as a result. It may not always be what you expected but it will have some effect on you and your circumstances. It will also, if you keep going, lead you down paths you may well have thought didn’t even exist. My life has certainly turned out that way and that “second half” has been beyond anything the previous “me” would ever have thought about.

Now, I’m not saying that it’s easy. What I am saying is that it will almost certainly be better than the alternative, which is not to try. You may find, as I have, a satisfaction and contentment that you’ve never had before. Moreover, you can reach those states without losing what I feared I would; that edge that makes me keep trying.

So, take that first small step on that road not previously taken. After all, what have you got to lose?