Sunday, 10 May 2015

One Year

I guess that this week people will be celebrating (if that's the right word) the anniversary. More specifically, the first anniversary of me posting my drivel on a blog - or maybe VE Day, I suppose.

Both are, of course, momentous events although I will grant that maybe - just maybe - one of them affects the general populous more than the other. But from a personal perspective - as long as I don't think too much about the consequences of there never having been a VE Day (or at least, not one celebrated in the UK) - my personal first date of note has a much more significant feel to it.

In truth, I never expected to write more than a few words, maybe once a month or when something of note happened - but I had failed to realise that a) some people do actually read these things and b) enjoy them or at least react to them and c) I am so full of sh... words.

This is post number fifty-two - very nearly one for every year of my life (yes, very nearly, not 'still a dozen to go then') - and I have covered my original topic (Multiple Sclerosis) a few times but in the main I have looked at books, music, pets, cars, sport, television and even such meaningless things as General Elections and death.

Perhaps most significantly from my point of view is that it has brought me an awareness of the power of social media in these interweb-thingy dominated days. To see your own blog post being read on a mobile phone at a train station is an eye-opener, to say the least (as well as being rather nice, especially as I don't think I even knew the person). It has even been a significant factor in my decision to build my own website and look to the written word as a potential future some day.

Even just typing that last paragraph makes me think that I should pop a link to my site into the text since that sort of thing has become the norm in these interweb-thingy enlightened days. My natural modesty (will you please stop giggling!) fights against such blatant  self publicity, though. But at least it loses... my website is there and my collected blog posts are also in the site and can be found here as well - my collected posts.

One or two of the posts do look at the rise and importance of modern technology - and for someone of my age, there is still an element of surprise at every development - and just how much I can achieve in order to embrace such things. Another evidently news-worthy item helps demonstrate that and ties the whole anniversary thing together with a neatness I find unusually odd. Just eight days ago our second-in-line to the throne of this country was delivered of a second child, the Princess Charlotte, and it brought home the fact to me that our current Queen will, later this year, become the longest serving monarch this country has ever seen.

Queen Elizabeth the second has been the monarch since not that long before I was born (eight years), and that was little more than seven years after the original VE Day. I have been writing my posts for less than 2% of the time she has been our monarch... time is a funny thing.

In all probability I will not live long enough to see the young princess's elder brother, George, become our king, and the jury is firmly out as to whether I will even see the coronation of her father, William. Mind you, at this rate I may not even live long enough to see Charles take the throne...

Anyway, for as long as I am around, I fully intend to keep writing these collections of drivel/thought, although starting this second year, I am considering altering the format so that they will appear less frequently but with greater depth. It has already been requested of me to write some longer pieces about specific subjects - prompted by my most 'popular' articles on another Queen (the band), and my days of hiding behind the back of the sofa (Doctor Who, not MS).

We shall, as they say. see - but the idea appeals, especially as it starts to better integrate with my long-term plans to take to my chair and write more, and more fully. I am certainly still full of words and, as I've said on these pages before, time lends better understanding and a better perspective (if you allow it the space).

I'm always open to suggestions, though....

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Election Fever? (Yawn)

When I was a little boy (please note, in light of recent activities can I make it clear that I was NOT one of Two Little Boys...)... anyway, when I was 11 I first heard the song 'I Wanna Be Elected' - and it wasn't just gender confusion that I suffered.

The whole 'election' business seemed to be a quite frequent event back then - and stayed that way for much of the 70's - but I was a little confused as to what it all really meant. It was a gentle confusion because apart from an occasional Thursday off school, it didn't seem to have any affect on me. There was always a little inter-family conflict, but there again, that wasn't so unusual in any case. Other than really wanting to know why Alice Cooper was apparently a guy, nothing really fascinated me about elections.

By the tail end of the decade I was taking delight in playing to my stereotype and standing as the faux Labour candidate in a school 'mock ' election, whilst happily utilising my new-found electoral power and ticking an altogether different box when the real thing rolled around.

Not that I was thinking long and hard about the potentials of a Thatcherite government, let alone imagining that it might last a decade. My vote was garnered more as a result of several years of 'winters of discontent' and getting candle-wax all over my history homework thanks, I firmly believed, to the Labour governments of Wilson and Callaghan.

You must forgive my naivety - I might have spent most of the decade attending a half-decent school, but politics were never high on anyone's agenda there. I think one or two of the teachers were still card-carrying Whigs...

Oddly enough (you might think), General Elections always seem to have played a starring role in my life - and I'm not talking about the establishment of tax relief thresholds, After many grey years of post-Thatcher Conservative rule, the UK was becoming more established as a member of the European Union (a still relatively new term for the Common Market), but the economy was beginning to stagnate in a way that I had not witnessed before as a working adult.

Change was in the air, but it was my work and nothing to do with the political situation which saw me opting to work - and then move - abroad. And here's the neat General Election link - I took citizenship of my new homeland (Luxembourg) officially on the 2nd May 1997 - which happens to be the same day that the credit crunch of a few years ago began. Or the day Blair started saying yes to everyone as Prime Minister.

The fact that he was still there when I returned to the UK to live rather spoils the 'never in my lifetime will I live under his guidance' routine, but at least I missed most of the situation. Of Gordon Brown I will say nothing except 'ouch'.

Roll forward five years and we have all lived through a Conservative government (thankfully not a 'new conservative' one) where all we have witnessed is a valiant effort to undo the harm that befell us all before it occurred. If anyone deserves a positive vote now it must be Cameron's mob on the grounds that they inherited total dross but have managed to help us avoid international bankruptcy, and even got a few more people in work.

Of late, though, we have seen the emergence of a new political entity - not the first in my adult lifetime, thanks to the Democrat party and its subsequent merger with the Liberals - in the dubious guise of the BNP-lite... sorry, I mean UKIP. The fact that they have apparently appealed to  so many of the population - using a jingoistic, lowest common denominator approach - really is rather worrying. Even more than the thought of a yes-man occupying Downing Street.

I was going to publish a rather revealing video clip of the leader of said 'independence' party being interviewed on a non-UK mainstream TV show late last year when his terminology was very revealing - but have been persuaded not to on the grounds of the party's sudden apparent desire to sue nay-sayers. Which in itself should tell you a whole heap about them,

Anyway, come Thursday we will all (as in about two-thirds of us) troop off to the local polling station and make our private and hard-earned marks. This time next week, we might well have a new government - or at least, be seeing politicians of every hue frantically trying to befriend former sworn enemies. Who knows? Maybe we will all be being led by a temporary union of the Scottish Nationalist Party and the Monster Raving Loonies? Which are different entities, I have been told. And needed to be told.

All in all, we should be grateful that we live in a democracy - even if 'first past the post' is no longer such a marked differentiator of who we want to see at Number Ten - and it really is our duty to cast our vote. If you don't exercise your hard-won right, then you will be ruled by what the rest of us decide - and don't you dare ever complain, even if it's the SNP and a bunch of Loonies. And by 'Loony' I mean members of the party formed by the late Screaming Lord Sutch, and not just politicians in general..... Honest.