Monday, 15 September 2014

The road to somewhere

Politics is a funny old game.  Parties trade on promises in order to get elected - manifestoes they call them.  Those of us who vote usually decide where to put our cross based on who we believe the most.  Or, importantly, who we want to believe.  For me, that's how politics works.  There are no guarantees.  Only promises which turn in to negotiations and compromises.
Our relationship to the outcome of the election and our hopes for the future are tied up in that cross. Many think it's one of the most important functions we perform as adults.  Our mandate for influencing the very society in which we live.
Scotland's electorate is poised to exert perhaps the biggest political influence ever seen in our country in some 300 years.  There's a lot at stake.  Much more than a term in government, with the option to change in 4 or 5 years. 
It certainly feels like the biggest political decision I will ever make.  And it seems many of my fellow voters feel the same.  It's almost palpable.  My head is spinning with all I'm expected to believe, consider and understand before I decide which type of country I want to live in.  Of course, there is no political universal truth.   Although I've heard compelling and passionate arguments on both sides, in the end, my decision is borne of the fact I want to remain in the United Kingdom.  I believe we can be better together.  Different better but still together better.
Over the last few weeks, debate has been at fever pitch.  I stopped listening to the politicians weeks ago and have thoroughly enjoyed reading blogs and articles from ordinary people, some of whom write for a living and have a grounding in politics or economics, but some of whom are not that different from me.   However,  some of what I have read and seen has disheartened me.  I've been indirectly called stupid and selfish for not supporting a particular view.  Many campaigners seem to believe they have cornered the market in their wish for an improved society and that their vote is a 'no brainer'.  How can this be true?  That's the thing.  I believe that many of us who sit on opposite sides of the fence want pretty much the same things.  We just have different ideas about how some of it can best be achieved.  Wasn't it ever thus in the business of shaping society?
One thing that has really lifted my spirits has been the level of engagement of the Scottish people.  With over 90% of eligible voters registered to take part, the turnout looks to be unprecedented.  The country is awash with people who are all at once interested in how the country is run.   It is wonderful and exciting.  Referendum decision aside, if this marks a new, dynamic engagement in the political process, it's a win for all of Scotland.
So, let the people decide.  If Scotland wants independence, I'll be disappointed and nervous, but   I believe in democracy.  I believe in the voice and the will of the people.  All people - even if their voice is different from mine.
We don't know where we're going, but, when the dust settles, I'll take my place on the road with my fellow travellers.  The road to somewhere.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Blink and you'll miss it

Someone I follow on Twitter posted a beautiful short film today. It's called 'tidy' and shows him tidying up the debris from his toddler having fun.  All the toys go in a box, the phone goes back on the hook, the furniture is straightened. And, lastly,  his discarded shoes are picked up, ready to be put away.  I won't spoil the ending, watch it for yourself.
This reminded me of my own tearaway toddler and I was transported  back to the constant picking up of discarded stuff.  What seemed like the remnants of mess I now realise were the remnants of fun. The remnants of learning. The remnants of a life being lived happily. 

As I got into my car this evening I remembered I have kept one of those remnants and I look at it every day.  My 23 year old daughter's toddler shoe hangs from my rear view mirror and it constantly makes me smile . 

I can hardly believe it once fitted her. It hangs above, in all it's glory - Isn't it cute.

When she got her own car a few years ago I beamed with delight as she asked for the partner shoe, which now hangs from her own rear view mirror.  

Cherish the time you spend with your children.  Blink and you'll miss it... 

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Keeping my spirits high

My day felt tough today. At least it did as the clock ticked by.  I'm plate spinning at work and am easily distracted so I find sharing an office difficult at times. 

One of my office chums - a big man's man as it happens - but very perceptive, gave me a free hug this afternoon.  And it lasted for more than 6 seconds.  The time taken to establish genuineness apparently.  He instantly made me feel better. 

And I'm developing a bit of a crush on Jackson Browne.  Where has he been all my life?  I'm listening to him continually on my long commute and he makes me feel calm and grateful.  

My favourite song at the moment contains a great line, I wish I'd written 

"Let the music keep our spirits high" 

Here's the link

As my day draws to a close I've regained my perspective and know that, after a good night's sleep, tomorrow will be a better day. 

What would we do without music.  And hugs. 

Thank you Jackson for making my todayoutof10 an 8.2 x

Saturday, 1 February 2014

A blip in my blogjourney

One of the things I wanted to be when I grew up was a journalist.  I have loved reading, thinking and writing for as long as I can remember.  I even got a conditional offer to study journalism at Napier University in Edinburgh, the only place offering such a course in my school days.  Unfortunately - or fortunately - I didn't make the grade academically and went on to follow other pursuits.  A love of reading, thinking and writing however, has always been a big part of who I am.

When I became aware I could read stuff, think about stuff and write about stuff online, my world became much more exciting as I realised it was just like being a real writer. 

So, my todayoutof10 online life was born.  Unfortunately, my love of procrastinating has meant the reading and thinking hasn't translated into writing as often as I would like. 

And then I found Blipfoto.  This online platform, with the brilliant strapline - save your life - encourages us to post a picture every day, with or without accompanying words.  Developed by a guy who wanted to keep an online photo diary and was inundated by people asking if they could do it to, it was just the motivation I needed to post regularly.  It's a wonderfully positive haven for  photographers and diarists alike.  My pictures are pretty lame but it's enabled me to start seeing my life with fresh eyes, ever looking for a picture to accompany something worthy of writing about each day. It's the perfect place for me to record my todayoutof10 positive thoughts. I've been blipping faithfully since Dec 31 and plan to keep it up for 365 days. 

I hope this new found discipline will enable me to blog here more often.  I certainly have enough to say.

If you haven't seen Blipfoto before, check it out.