Parenting, profundities and humour

What happens when an unstoppable force hits an immovable object… — January 17, 2019

What happens when an unstoppable force hits an immovable object…

Well I think we are about to find out folks… hang on to your seats…

As the unstoppable force that is Brexit runs full pelt into the immovable object that is 29th March we all hold our collective breath.

There are many sorts of people around at the moment….

There is a loud group of Remainers who think that all their dreams are going to come true and that a second referendum is the only way out. Glibly closing their minds to the fact that it seems more than likely the Leave vote will be stronger. And over looking the fact that even if there were by some miracle a Remain vote we will have to slink back to the EU table with our tail between our legs like a sorry mongrel who got ideas above its station, all negotiating power and standing shot to ribbons. Deluded.

There are Remainers and Leavers trying to put a brave face on it. Wondering how we got into this mess. Trying not to believe that the people we elected into power are so stubborn and lacking in the ability to think outside their own personal and party based interests (to act as bleeding statesmen) that we are going to crash and burn in spectacular fashion. Powerless to do anything except stand back and watch it all happen like rubber-neckers on a motorway as a million car pile up happens on the other carriage way.

There are those of both persuasions who think ‘it will all be OK in the end’. We survived two world wars for gods sake. How hard can it be to live in a world with no food on the shelves or medicine in the pharmacies. Well quite hard but hey you know it will be alright in the end.

There are those Leavers who think this is exactly why we need to leave because the EU are so damn unreasonable.

There surely must be some Leavers out there (although I have yet to meet one) who have decided that ‘oops’ maybe they didn’t think it through properly in the first place. That maybe they just voted based on a red bus and a few lying toe rags or maybe because ‘immigrants’ were taking their jobs (and picking their strawberries, and cleaning their hotel rooms, and serving them beer, and resuscitating them in A&E and teaching their kids Physics) and we needed to ‘stop the tide’. And who now think it wasn’t such a great way to vote. Who knows. To be fair I think most Leavers were not expecting this massive cock up.

Some people must just be ignoring it. For the sake of their mental health or because it means so little to them as they exist in a day to day vacuum of simply making it to the next day caught up in a world where politics has stood still for 2 years as all focus was put on avoiding a catastrophe that know seems inevitable…

There must be I guess some people sitting in corners quietly rubbing their hands together ready to pick up the pieces and make a killing in the fall out… there are always people like this: knitters at the guillotine, looters of bodies, dubious business men, Boris Johnson. The human condition is such that one person’s bad news is usually some unscrupulous person’s good news.

I for one am sick of it. I wanted to stay. Now all I am sure of is that the reputation and standing of this country has been immeasurably harmed by the whole sorry mess. A whole two years when we could have been sorting the issues (poverty, inequality, housing, health, education) that led to the referendum decision in the first place have been lost. My faith in politicians and democracy is in shatters. There is not one single party I can vote for based on their sorry performances.

It’s getting to the point where I would rather it was just all over for good or bad. And I could deal with the fall out as best as possible.


Farty Pants…. — November 9, 2016

Farty Pants….


It has been a while since my last entry. In fact it is so long that when I decided today to put pen to paper (fingers to keyboard) WordPress had signed me out. I had to remember my password. I ain’t good at that. I nearly gave up. But not quite. I apologise to those of you that like my posts. What can I say? Life has got in the way.

A while ago you may remember an entry entitled Living In a Bubble. I wrote it in the wake of the UK’s democratic decision to leave the EU, Brexit as it has come to be known. It was the Sunday following the referendum. I was still in shock. A lot of us still are although time and the seeming lack of any actual action has somewhat numbed the initial emotion. Life, as always, goes on. Tea needs cooking. Children need fetching. Christmas needs planning. The every day inures us to the shock.

And then today I awoke to more astounding news. That the US has elected as its president a man such as Donald Trump.

I am not a great follower of US politics. But even I have not been immune to the hyperbole surrounding the Presidential race. The mud slinging. The posturing. The claims and counter claims. In fact the race reminded me of the campaigning ahead of Brexit. The ‘promises’ made to millions by people who had no intention or indeed wherewithal to deliver. Or worse promises made which may come true but which border on fascism.

It feels almost surreal. That a man with no experience of political office can be awarded arguably the most powerful job in the world. And when I say he has no political experience that is probably the very least of everyone’s worries.

That is the ‘everyone’ excepting the millions of Americans who actually turned out and voted for him. Whether as a protest, or because they believed he was the better of two equally awful options, or because they liked one small part of his campaign, or because they genuinely believe he can ‘make America great again’, those people turned out in their millions to vote for a man who claimed Obama (who from the outside seems like one of the most decent Presidents ever) wasn’t born in the States.

I am at a loss really. One hopes that his party, who now hold sway in all three arms of the government of the US, contains enough sane individuals to put a curb on his more extreme ‘policies’.

If not then if we thought the world was going to hell in a handcart before it looks like it just boarded a bullet train to the underworld.

Anyway must get dinner on.





Living in a Bubble? — June 26, 2016

Living in a Bubble?


So just a day after I wrote my last post Should We Stay or Should We Go the almost unthinkable happened.

The Great Britsh public voted to go.

My husband told me the news at 5am on Friday morning. To begin with I clung onto those last thirty odd areas yet to declare hoping against hope that the result would change. Of course that didn’t happen. It was like watching a car crash. In slow motion.

It is now Sunday. And I am still in shock. The expected turmoil happened on Friday. And now we are in the eye of the storm, awaiting fresh turmoil tomorrow.

I don’t know what to think. I know I feel worried and angry and ashamed. Both personally and for the wider situation.

I had to turn the television off on Friday. As party leaders fell. And sterling crashed and burned my brain couldn’t really take anymore. I made cup cakes.

I sometimes think I am guilty of living in a middle class bubble. I often deliberately avoid the news. I think it is a form of self preservation. When I ponder on such enormities as global warming my mind starts to shut down. The fear I feel about what the future holds for my children and grandchildren is too much to contemplate. And yes I recycle and turn off the lights and turn down the thermostat. But I don’t march or sign petitions or campaign.

I just cannot. To admit it is to make it real. And I am coming to the conclusion I am a bit of a coward…

And so I will never be an activist. Even though I do feel passionately about things. I will do my little bit locally helping govern our school, sitting on the neighbourhood planning team, writing minutes for the Scout group, volunteering at jumble sales, baking cakes. But I won’t be marching in the capital. Setting the political world on fire. Making a real difference. I am not proud of it. But it is reality.

But then I hope to bring up three children with the sorts of values I think are important. Instill in them tolerance and altruism and the ability to try to see both sides of an argument. And maybe that will be my lasting legacy.

I read more stuff today on the EU situation. The racist incidences which seem to have been unleashed. Stories of people losing jobs or being asked to relocate. The implosion of our political parties. Graduates having job offers withdrawn. The Far Right bandwagon rolling with increased momentum. The possible splintering of Great Britain. The lies being exposed. Maybe it is hyperbole. And maybe not. In any event that fear was back. With avengence.

And again I had to stop reading.

Today we were all tired from a lovely evening out with friends. And so in the end we all watched Independence Day on the TV. Oh the irony. I found myself thinking that it could be worse. We could be being invaded by aliens.

Proper aliens. From outer space. I’d be happier if our world had been turned upside down because of that.


Should We Stay or Should We Go? — June 23, 2016

Should We Stay or Should We Go?


I just got back from voting in the EU referendum. A soggy walk to my village hall. A quick chat with the volunteers. The clearest ballot paper I have ever seen. The knowledge that, finally, my vote will count as much as the next man’s.

I gave up trying to cut my way through the bullshit spouted by both sides several weeks ago.

In the end I decided to go with my gut…here is what my gut said:-

  • Retreating to our small island and pulling up the drawbridge feels petty. Long sieges are never a good thing. And we don’t even have enough food, or fuel.
  •  Helping the poorest countries on our continent has to be the right way forward. Driving countries into the ground financially didn’t really pan out that well in the 1930s. Inequality breeds extremism.
  • I am proud to live in a country that is attractive to young, hard working Eastern Europeans. That says a lot about what we have got right here in the UK.
  • Large parts of our economy would not cope without these people; Care Homes, the NHS, farming to name a few.
  • A lot of the issues I care about improving; climate change, the environment, extremism, equality need countries to co-operate. These things are bigger than us. In every way.
  • I like the fact that the UK has always been a bit of a thorn in the EU’s side. Being a pain and not totally going along with the majority. It speaks volumes that they haven’t kicked us out yet. I feel like the UK is a bit of a brake. What would happen if we take the brake off. Or worse remove it entirely.
  • If we don’t agree with the EU we can currently do something about it. Leave that table and all bets are off. And it is naive to assume that what the EU decides will not affect us on the other side of that drawbridge.
  • My 12 year old is passionate about remaining. And it is his future I am voting on.
  • Extracting ourselves from the EU will be bloody hard work. Many eyes will get taken off many balls whilst they sort it out. It is the same way I feel about schools acadamising. Lots of effort and time and money for little benefit and meanwhile those sorting it are not getting on with what they should be doing- teaching our kids. I want my politicians and civil servants getting on with making the UK a better place not dealing with getting us out.
  • And then no-one knows what ‘Out’ looks like. Those campaigning for it have wildly different views on that. Interesting… and talking of which
  • I trust not one person on the Leave side. Maybe that guy who makes vacuum cleaners is a bit credible. But no one else is. Not all the ‘Remainers’ are that credible. But some are at least.
  • The Sun and Daily Mail say we should Leave…
  • If the Leavers win my husband will spend his weekend and beyond on calls and in meetings as part of his employer’s Crisis Team. Because that is how it is viewed there. A Crisis with a capital C.

So there we have it. I voted Remain. Unscientific. But I trust my gut.

What does yours say?

Greece is the word… — July 12, 2015

Greece is the word…

Currently we are on holiday. Not to make you envious or anything but that is the view from our balcony.

We are in Greece. Before we went we did have some concerns. Everyone is warning of doom and gloom on the money front. And yes we brought a suitcase of hard cash…

I had expected the country to be reeling. For the indigenous people to be a little bit ‘off’ and possibly down hearted. But since we arrived the Greeks have been unfailingly cheerful. The service, as always, has been second to none. But it is more than that. They seem genuinely pleased to see us. Which I suppose is unsurprising for an economy 40% reliant on tourism.

Our plane wasn’t full. Which I have never seen before. I have no idea if tourists have been put off by the EU wrangling.

They shouldn’t be.

This place is simply stunning. Warm, friendly and courteous. That’s why we came back. And probably would again.

Its also why this blog is likely to be very short on entries for a week or so.

I will be too busy relaxing to write.


On the Hustings — May 6, 2015

On the Hustings

polling station

Eldest is studying 12 bar blues in music at school this term which involves them, in small groups, composing their own blues piece. He came home yesterday and informed me that his group have decided to use politics as the theme.  He shared some of the lyrics. I was heartened to note the condemnation of Nigel Farage, but horrified to hear that the main thrust of the song appears to be supporting the Tories.

Don’t worry, says eldest, they loose, that’s why its a blues piece.

I metaphorically ran to the hills. Screaming.

We have been having many discussions at home about the up coming election. It is the first time they have been old enough to really grasp any of the concepts. Our political system is hard for children (and lets face it quite a lot of adults) to understand. So we have done our best to explain it’s complexities.  I think at least eldest and possibly middlest have got the basics. But the hardest question of all to answer is ‘What is the difference between the parties?’.

I would class myself as left wing. I was brought up in a fully fledged Guardian reading household. I have always had an aversion to the right wing.  My teenage years were characterised by the miners strike, by record unemployment, by the absolute, and seemingly callous, destruction of many ways of life by Margaret Thatcher.

At university, in the death throws of grants and housing benefit, my resolve only hardened. I distinctly remember in one election during that time, and living in a safe Tory seat in Sheffield, being galvanised into action to support the only viable alternative, a Lib Dem candidate. My household had a poster and we all voted tactically… to zero effect. I haven’t done it since.

Since being able to vote I have yet to actually live in any constituency where there wasn’t a safe Tory MP sitting smugly. I turn up to vote anyway. Futilely. How I long to live in a marginal, be important, possibly shape the future of this country, be Scottish. But, no, I am condemned for ever, it seems, to be a silent voter.

And anyway age, circumstances and the drift of most parties to the centre has numbed my zeal. Although I remain, for the most part, left wing I have a personal interest in not returning to the Labour of old. As a family it is possible we would suffer under a Labour government. But still I cannot bring myself to vote for the right wing party that arguably would do us, personally, the best service. Because fundamentally I want better things for the majority and am prepared to pay for it, although I am also not sure Ed and his friends would deliver that.

I took an online test which anonymously presented 5 party’s policies on areas important to me so I could gain an insight on who to vote for. It was, in the main, remarkably hard to tell whose policies were whose. And the outcome actually showed that no one party should get my vote.

So I am at a loss for this election. I will always vote, women died to gain me that privilege, but for whom is anyone’s guess. I haven’t been canvassed, no one has door-stepped me, I have had only one leaflet through my door. So no one is really making much effort.

Maybe I will just join eldest in his music lesson, play the walking bass for his blues song and stick my fingers in my ears… (although that would make playing bass really, really difficult)…

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