Friday, 8 May 2015

REPOST: How to Fail as a Political Party: 26/09/10

This is my post at the time Ed beat David. It gives me no great pleasure to note I was right. Sad day for Labour.

1. Ignore what the public want: look to keep the peace in your own party at the cost of becoming unelectable
2. Make sure the election process is long enough for the unions to form around a candidate that is weak enough not to take them on
3. Make sure the Unions have a vote that outweighs their true influence in the country
4. Elect someone that is young and untried
5. Ignore the older brother who has a welcome reformist approach and is obviously the more able communicator
6. Go back to the old party ways, following the policies of the last failed Prime Minister rather than the new approach from the earlier successful and long lasting Prime Minister
7. Look forward to a number of years of debating failed left wing election proposals
8. Look forward to a long time as an opposition party.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015


When you drive to the polling station on Thursday, your way will not be blocked. Your children will not be kidnapped whilst you are out. There will be no indiscriminate gunfire as you queue. No one will take you into the booth and force you to put a cross by a certain name.

We live in a free democracy. But we need to keep it that way. Don’t assume for a moment that your vote doesn’t matter. No vote is wasted. It’s a statement that we’re free. Free to vote. Free to choose.

Far beyond our own political views, beyond the choice of a candidate or the success of a candidate, is the fact that we are free to vote in the first place. A privilege many in the world today do not have.

Don’t squander the chance. Don’t throw away your right to vote. Don’t stay home. Go to the polling station. Put your cross on the ballot paper.

Vote on Thursday.

Monday, 6 April 2015

REPOST: Starting to Climb

As I approach my 60th birthday this week, I was thinking back to the reason I started writing a blog, in my early 50's. Here's the very first entry on this blog all that time ago.

The daughter I make note of is happily married with our first two granddaughters.

Well, time flies, as they say.....

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”
― Mother Teresa

Well this is it. I've got there. Started a blog that is. It's taken a while but I got there in the end.

It's not really about mountain climbing. It's more to do with continuing to climb in life after the age of 50. I'm 51. I feel like i'm 31! How did I get this old?! But there is so much more to do. Many more mountains to climb in this life.

I'm not sure whether anyone will ever read this stuff. Not sure at this moment it will be worth reading! But i'll give it a go. I've kept a daily diary for over 30 years so it shouldn't be too hard to keep this up.

The first of my children got married this weekend. That's a bit of a watershed in itself. Managed that mountain ok. The speech went well enough, the weather was good, and she looked beautiful. Onwards and upwards....

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Living in a 'Both/And' Country

There was a bit of a scary documentary on TV the other night. Robert Peston was looking at what might happen to France after their next election. There is a real possibility of the far right getting in. 

This is reflected in many other nations, including the UK with the rise of UKIP. Not as far right as the Front National in France, but a definite leaning in that direction.

It’s clear that there is a concern amongst ‘locals’ with regard to ‘newcomers’. But if we go back into history, pretty much all of Europe can be classed as ‘newcomers’. Most of us have relations who have travelled beyond old borders and taken up residence in another country.

Marine Le Pen, the leader of the French Front National, sets out the issue as countries needing to decide if they are ‘globalists’ or ‘nationals’. It sounds almost convincing. Until you consider the fact that she is demanding a choice. Either you support your country, or you are a ‘globalist’ and want to do away with borders.

But it’s not either/or. It can be both/and. I’m rightly proud of the country I’m born in. And if people move to my country, I want them to be proud of it too.

But I also love the variety and colour of the nations. I love it that the city I live in is 50% ‘other than British white’. I love the different viewpoints on life. I love the different foods. The different costumes. It adds to my nation. New colour and variety on top of the colour and variety already brought to my nation by previous generations.

So, yes, I’m nationalist in the sense of being proud of my country. But I can be a globalist too.

The choice we are being faced with by extremist right wing parties is a false choice. I want to live in a both/and country.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Two Tough Questions

My thanks to our good friend Ros Turner for this one....

Two tough questions...
Question 1:

If you knew a woman was pregnant,
Who had 8 kids already,
Three who were deaf,
Two who were blind,
One mentally retarded,
And she had syphilis,
Would you recommend that she undergoes an abortion?

Read the next question before looking at the response for this one.

Question 2:

It is time to elect a new world leader, and only your vote counts.
Here are the facts about the three candidates.

Candidate A: 

Associates with crooked politicians, and consults with astrologists.
He's had two mistresses.
He also chain smokes
And drinks 8 to 10 Martinis a day.

Candidate B:  

 He was kicked out of office twice,
Sleeps until noon,
Used opium in college
And drinks a quart of whiskey every evening.

Candidate C: 

He is a decorated war hero,
He's a vegetarian,
Doesn't smoke,
Drinks an occasional beer
And never committed adultery.

Which of these candidates would be your choice?

Decide first ... No peeking, and then scroll down for the response.

Candidate A is Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Candidate B is Winston Churchill.
Candidate C is Adolph Hitler.

And, by the way, on your answer to the abortion question:

If you said YES, you just killed Beethoven.

Pretty interesting isn't it?
Makes a person think before judging someone.


Amateurs ... Built the ark.
Professionals ... Built the Titanic

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Splendid Grief

Splendid grief. Two words that don’t go together? I heard them used by Sir Nicholas Soames MP in relation to his grandfather Sir Winston Churchill, and specifically to the full State Funeral given him in 1965. Fifty years on, there’s been a lot of reflection this week as to what Churchill achieved.

It was unusual for a ‘commoner’ to be given such recognition with a State Funeral, and the occasion was both solemn and a celebration of a man who led a nation to victory against the Nazi’s. Grief. But splendid too. It would have be a very different world without him.

As I reflect on the loss of two dear friends from cancer, one at quite a young age, the words come back to me. As we celebrated their lives, there was genuineness about the celebration. But grief too. Lives taken too soon.

It would have been a very different world without them. Splendid grief.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Towards the Sunrise

Often we embark on a journey with no end in sight. We're not sure how long it will be, or even if we will end up where we want to be. Or at least where we thought we'd be. Such is the journey of life. Twists and turns. Unexpected moments. Some pleasant. Some not so.

But there are always blessings along the way.

The Children of Israel trekked through the wilderness with Moses for 40 years. Quite a journey. But they got there. And near the end of the journey there were unexpected blessings. One of them  is simply recorded- they camped just outside the Promised Land with their faces 'towards the sunrise'. They were travelling north, but as they looked east, they saw the sun rise.

It was a new day for them. They were at the start of something. A few verses later in the bible, we read that they found a well of water and sang a song of declaration over it- 'spring up o well!'

Wherever you are on your journey, take time to state your purposes. Declare them. Write them down.

And take time to look around. You've got this far! Enjoy the scenery. Look towards the sunrise.

(You can read the story in the bible- Numbers 21, v 10 onwards)