I used to think ..

This was written in the immediate aftermath of the vote on 23.6.16 and so therefore doesn’t take into account the events surrounding the Labour Party or the Conservative party.

I used to think that I was angry when working class and unemployed were blamed for the banking crash.
I used to think that I was angry when the Liberal Democrats propped up a UK Conservative Government.

I used to think I was angry when the UK elected a second Conservative Government and the harshest welfare cuts were brought into place that I can remember – or certainly of my life time.

I thought I was angry when the UK Government failed to bring about a decent piece of legislation to support the future of Wales.

I thought I was angry when the entire media and political world became paralysed and polarised by the EU Referendum debate.

I thought I was angry when Wales returned 7 (yes that’s correct) UKIP Assembly Members to the National Assembly for Wales in May.

I thought I was angry when I got my first taste of what UKIP would behave like in the Assembly.

At that point I was not only fearful for Wales and the future of the Assembly, but I thought I had reached peak anger, disappointment and frustration.

Then 23 June happened.

When I went to sleep at around 10:00 (don’t judge – I have a 4 week old baby), there were some tentative signs that Remain might edge it. A “close of polling” poll indicated that camp was ever so slightly in the lead.

At around 01:00 when I woke up, there was even a Huffington Post update reporting that Farage (rhymes with same sex marriage) had conceded that Remain might edge it. My son had his milk and I went back to sleep, quietly pleased that that was that.

Waking up again at 04:00 there was another Huffington Post. This time it said that Farage was on the verge of announcing his success and the triumph of the Leave campaign.

It honestly felt like a punch to the gut.

By the time I had woken up properly, the hits just kept on coming – not only was Farage gloating everywhere, but Wales had overwhelmingly voted to Leave and the value of the pound was going the wrong way over a cliff. There was no good news as a result of the decision of the UK electorate to vote themselves out of the EU.

Now, at the time of writing, David Cameron is a lame duck, Osborne is desperately clinging on to the door at the Treasury with all his might and the Labour Party has turned in on itself in what must be the best example of a circular firing squad in modern political history.

There is no plan for Brexit.

Some of the Leave campaigners have been waiting for this for 40 years, but they finally get what they want and they haven’t even got a plan for what to do next.

Not only that, it has since emerged that there were a number of “factual inaccuracies” (lies) included in the Leave campaigns materials:

  • £350mn into the NHS (nope)
  • controlling our borders (nope)
  • reform of freedom of movement (nope)
  • getting the most value for your pension (nope)
  • no continued access to EU funding (nope)
  • the UK will stay together (nope)

There is no plan for Brexit. 

Let’s be clear, Boris Johnson and the rest of the Leave mob are playing for time because they don’t know what they want or how to get it. The idea that now having left, or voted to Leave, that we can now negotiate a sweet deal with the EU is pie in the sky thinking. 

Wales will be worse off. Perversely, the areas which most vociferously voted for Leave will be some of the worst hit. We in Wales now have to rely on the UK Conservative party to pick a new Prime Minister, who we will have to rely on to make the best possible fist of this clusterf&€k that they can.

There. Is. No. Plan. For. Brexit.

And living in Wales, with two small children? I feel broken by the decision taken by Wales and England (outside of London).

There. Is. No. Plan. For. Brexit.

I am genuinely scared about what that means for me, for my family and for Wales.

What should we do?

KBO – Keep Buggering On (and hope for the best).

Something tells me I may well be returning to this topic.

Some more writing – pt.2

So I managed to dig up the second instalment of the earlier piece I wrote. This is an extremely lazy way to get copy up here, but oh well.


Tales of Brother Friedrich Rechtung – pt.2

Further tales of the actions of Brother Friedrich Rechtung, Witchfinder of the Third Order, Brotherhood of the Twin Tailed Comet

As she lowered her mouth to his, her skin caught the moonlight that was flooding through the open window of the villa’s master bedroom. As he was every time he looked upon her, Friedrich was struck by her alabaster smooth skin and elegant features. Rather than press her crimson lips to his mouth, she instead moved passed his face, resting her head beside his, so close he could feel her breath in his ear. She whispered something that he couldn’t make out and tried to turn his head to look at her – but he couldn’t move. He felt cold hands now holding his head in place, turned as it was to his right, exposing his jugular. His pulse quickened and his breathing became faster and he suddenly felt a piercing pain in his neck ..

.. Friedrich jolted awake, sweat beading on his forehead and his hands whipped up to his steel gorget, reassuring himself that it was still intact. He breathed in slowly and exhaled slower. A dream. The same dream he’d been having for months, but a dream nonetheless. He had not shared these recurring memories of her with anyone and certainly never contemplated doing so with anyone within the Order. To do so would be to invite questions, hearings and a summons from the Chamber Master of the Inquisition. Friedrich was a devout son of Sigmar with no fear of man-made structures or systems, but even he did not relish that last thought.

He shook his head and wiped his face in begloved hands, seeking to return the memories of her back to the deep recesses of his mind. He pulled his dark overcoat about him tighter, shuddered against the cold air of the dungeon and made to stand to his feet. Without sunlight, he had no accurate way of telling for how long he was resting, but in his estimate it was likely to be at least a few hours. He stood and adjusted his rapier and bandolier. His curved dagger, a trusted personal weapon despite not being properly approved by the Order, was where it always sat – within easy reach at his belt.

By his reckoning, and judging from his remaining rations, it had been at least three days since he recovered the amulet that now sat, weighty, in his overcoat pocket. He fingered the design emblazoned there – that of his Order, the Twin Tailed Comet and started off again along the corridor – all thoughts now focussed on the task at hand.

Many of his brethren utilised flaming torches during explorations such as these, but being raised in the extreme north of the Empire, Friedrich was not only accustomed to the cold but also to the dark. His vision by night was exceptional – for a man.

Walking softly but assuredly along the corridor, he began to notice that the passage was sloping downwards beneath him and he could see a soft orange glow ahead of him. Presently he came across a large oaken door, cut across at every conceivable angle with steel coverings. A heavy barrier to be sure.

‘To keep something in, or out’, Friedrich wondered to himself as he knelt before the door. Hat in hand he pressed his ear against the warm wood of the door. He could hear nothing beyond the barrier except the occasional flicker of a torch or lamp. He stood again, returned his hat to whence he removed it moments ago and considered the door before him. He had no keys and while he owned a set of picks he possessed no skill with them.

Pistol in hand he reached out with his left to grasp the handle. To his utter surprise the handle turned smoothly and without any hint of age in the mechanism. Evidently this door had been well cared for and greased, regularly.

Pushing the door open with a flourish he burst into the next room, leading with his pistol. Friedrich cast about the small room, checking all the obvious, and less obvious, hiding places.

jasonhorley-365x461It was a small room with an old, rusty metal grate located in the centre of the floor. As a room it had very little to recommend it aside from a large number of urns and jars assembled around and about. Of differing size and quality, they held no interest for Friedrich other than what he knew they contained. Particular so called religious sects sought to preserve the body parts of the deceased by extracting them and storing them, with varying degrees of success, in these canopic jars. A cursory examination of the jars suggested that this particular sect were either highly sought after for their skill or were overly keen on mummification.

Kneeling before the grate he peered through the gaps in the metal. He could see a stone floor of some notable quality some distance below him. He locked his fingers inthe grate and pulled. The grate shifted slightly. Friedrich pushed up from his knees and began to lean back on his heels and the grate moved more – slowly lifting out of the recess into which it was set. Squatting to its side he dragged it clear of the hole and examined any simple way if getting to the room below.

No obvious handholds presented themselves and there was no ladder no rope. He picked up a small pebble from the floor and dropped it down the hole, counting as it fell. Friedrich nodded to himself and stood, wrapping his cloak tightly about himself as he did so. Standing on the lip of the hole he executed a small hop and fell, stick-like straight through the room below.

Landing with a thud, and bending his knees to lessen the impact, he immediately unfurled his cloak, pistol and rapier at the ready.

He turned in a slow circle, pistol arm outstretched, rapier held aloft. As he turned he began to recite Holy Prayer quietly under his breath.

“My Lord Sigmar keep your humble servant strong and safe, give me the strength to serve you and vanquish your foes and any who challenge you. Let your power work through me as I complete this, your most reverent of tasks.”

Friedrich continued to turn in a slow circle taking in every part of the room – and registering each of its inhabitants in turn.

A short piece of writing

Every now and again I occasionally get the urge to write something. This is something that I actually put together for the website of a good friend quite a while ago. If you want to check out a gorgeously illustrated version, then head on over to the brilliant Beyond the Grey Mountains website.


Tales of Brother Friedrich Rechtung – pt.1

An extract from the remembered exploits of Brother Friedrich Rechtung, Witchfinder of the Third Order, Brotherhood of the Twin Tailed Comet

He could feel his blood pulsing against the steel gorget – the mark of his membership of the ancient order of Witchfinders.

Leaning his head back against the cold stone wall of the dungeon’s corridor, he felt his pulse gradually begin to slow, still pulsing, but slower now, against his steel collar. He got his breathing under control and concentrated on the noises moving along the corridor.

It was almost like a shuffle, as if the creature was injured or was carrying some heavy weight. Slow and deliberate footsteps, but definitely with something weighty being dragged along.


The fingers of his right hand, warm and somewhat protected in his black, cow’s leather gloves, found the butt of his flintlock pistol in it’s usual place in the bandolier across his chest. His left hand reached across to his right hip and slowly unsheathed his rapier, blackened with boot polish the day before to prevent any telltale glints from the poor light in the cold, dank dungeon.

He had outrun the creature and defeated others in this hell-ridden dungeon but whatever it was that was following him had a resilience and persistence he had not experienced. But now this angular corner in the passageway provided an excellent opportunity to pounce. The noises moved further along the corridor, but slowing now as if the creature could sense his presence.

His grip tightened on the butt and trigger of his pistol and rapier and under his breath he muttered a hastily recalled prayer to Sigmar, then launched himself off the wall into the path of the creature, pistol held at arm’s length and sabre drawn.

Shock, for a split second as his night adjusted eyesight allowed him to see the horrifying visage before him, if only for a moment.

Rags of greying skin clung to the remains of a face, dark red muscles visible through holes in the skin. Strips of what Friedrich realised after must be a funeral shroud hung to the emaciated form of the creature, giving it some shape but doing little to hide the impossibly thin arms and skeletal legs. Notwithstanding it’s physical appearance, Friedrich knew the creature possessed strength not of this world.

In an instant he reacted, squeezed the trigger of his flintlock and there was a terrific flash as the black powder ignited and the shot left the barrel, penetrating the creature’s eye socket with predictably impressive results. Ungodly howls erupted from the creature’s mouth as it’s clawed fingers shot up to it’s damaged face, but it staggered onwards towards Friedrich – desperately searching for its quarry.

Friedrich swung his sword in a short arc, bringing the blackened blade down, slicing across the creature’s chest and raised arms. The creature’s forearms and chest were bloody, the grey, tattered remains of it’s skin, hanging off from where the blade had struck – but yet it lurched towards Friedrich.

He had faced zombies, minions of Chaos before and yet for the first time in a long while, he felt fear prickle the nape of his neck. This one continued to move towards despite the horrific injuries the Witchfinders’ weapons had effected. Retreating a few steps as the zombie approached, he swung again and again with his holy blade, emblazoned with words of scripture, each time finding his mark with a sickening squelch . The zombie howled again and staggered a step. Sensing his opportunity, Friedrich threw caution to the wind and lunged at the creature sabre first, blade pointing up towards the zombie’s chest. Throwing all of his weight behind the attack Friedrich caught the zombie off balance and thrust his blade up through what remained of the ribcage until the tip of his blade exited from the back of the creature’s neck.

They fell down together, the zombie immobile and the Witchfinder panting heavily. Hauling himself upright, he withdrew his blade, wiped it against his boots and returned it to it’s sheath. He drew a long, wickedly curved dagger from his belt and knealt by the zombie’s neck. Knowing from previous experience that it was unwise to leave the head attached to the neck and continue on his journey, Friedrich set about slicing the the tendons and muscles and eventually with a crack, the bone, of the neck, in order to separate the head from the body. Task complete he sat back on his haunches and exhaled slowly.

Making the mark of Sigmar he stood, the head of the zombie in his hand. With a grunt and an overarm throw, he dispatched the head back down the corridor from whence it’s previous owner came. Then turning to the remains of the creature he could see for the first time, in the sepulchral half light of the corridor, what the zombie had been dragging. A large sack woven, in year’s gone by, with a thick hemp. Friedrich pulled open the string and examined the contents.

Not having any use for golden trinkets, he searched the sack thoroughly. At the bottom his fingers wrapped around what felt like the shape of an amulet, complete with chain. The amulet itself carried the mark that was familiar, very familiar to Friedrich, that of the Twin Tailed Comet. Grasping the amulet in his fist, Friedrich stuffed it into the pocket of his overcoat. He looked again at the decapitated remains of the zombie and vowed to Sigmar a personal oath that he would avenge his fallen brother and bring an end to whatever power saw fit to defile the body of a long dead Witchfinder for it’s own, unknown, ends.

So you wanna be a (boxer) politician?

Just a quick ramble ..

I’ve often thought (not arrogantly you understand) that I’d quite fancy being a politician – probably in Wales, because through the regional list system it is at least in theory easier to get elected if you are in the top half of your party’s list (I recognise there’s a few caveats to my previous statement) – and heaven forbid, I might even be alright at it.

So you wanna ..There are things I’m passionate about and I like to think I can argue and compromise with the best of them. Not afraid of hard work etc.

But then I snap out of my reverie and realise that there’s pretty much zero chance of me being selected as a candidate (if I were to join a party) and then being elected. Why you ask? Well in my opinion, it’s simple – I’ve got a digital footprint covering Hotmail, Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, 9Gag, WordPress and numerous other places across the internet. Certainly I know my Twitter has been around since 2007 and Facebook since at least 2005/6.

Why is this a problem?

That is between seven and eight year’s worth of ammunition that opponents, the media or just people in general can look up, research and throw at me if they want. There have been a few stories recently of people who have Tweeted or blogged in haste and then have had to repent pretty hastily too. I actually read today about another candidate whose undoubtedly quick and unthinking Facebook comment actually made it onto page 2 of Wales’ national newspaper.

I can’t recall every Tweet I’ve posted (for the record it is north of 12,000) and I feel certain that somewhere along the line there will be something (or more than likely a few things) that:

  • I’m not proud of
  • I probably shouldn’t have posted
  • Could cause me embarrassment / be the source of a damaging news story
  • Would identify be as being in opposition to a party policy or position

Why does this matter? Well in my view, my digital footprint is probably not that different from other people of my generation, but it is likely smaller than people younger than me. This means that, in my opinion, a contributing factor to some people not getting involved in politics could be that they are or maybe concerned about what could get dug up about them from the internet.

Is it going to be a massive factor for huge amounts of people? Probably not. Could it be putting off people from entering politics? Probably yes.

To coin a phrase .. what an omnishambles

It’s been an incredibly long time since I’ve written anything on here, due to various things (mainly – having a baby, moving house and getting a new job), but I’ve been catching up on my reading and listening to podcasts recently and I was struck by a thought .. what an absolute mess the Labour Party is in.

I should say that I am not a member of the Labour Party, nor have I voted for them. My political leanings can be discerned from previous writings on this blog.

So what kind of shambles? An omnishambles in my view.

Ok they had a bad election night. A really bad election night. But it appears to me that the Labour Party can’t even get introspective navel gazing right! Seemed right to me that Ed Miliband went after the party’s defeat, but the Conservatives have capitalised brilliantly on the lack of opposition and are making the most of the fact that Labour are (or at least, appear to be) a rudderless and leaderless rabble, totally consumed by a leadership contest which hilariously looks like it might be won by someone that apparently few who nominated wanted to see in in the first place!

For an outsider, the contest reached new levels of ridiculousness, with well known warmongering pseudo Tory Tony Blair making an unwelcome return to UK domestic politics and the brilliant bluff and bluster of Lord (?!?) Prescott adding his considerable weight to the fracas. It is now hilarious to me that Labour MPs helped Corbyn “get over the line” in terms of nominations, in order to broaden the debate, are running as far away from Corbyn as possible.
Similarly, has anyone else cottoned on to the hilarity of a traditionally left or dare I say it, socialist, political party terrified of selecting an avowed left-leaning candidate?
This segues nicely onto my thoughts about the leadership candidates.
  • Andy Burnham – a flip flopper who seems that he would just deliver more of the same, or at least change his mind so often just so everyone is really unsure about what he really thinks
  • Yvette Cooper – comes across as bland and more of the same
  • Liz Kendall – fair play, she’s said a few things that she believes, but I suspect she’ll run afoul of the great labelling machine (a Blairite or a Tory .. not sure which is more damaging)

And then finally, the man of the moment, Comrade Corbyn.

A man who (certainly this is my take on him), says what he believes and believes what he says. Now, on Any Questions (Radio 4) a few weeks ago, Chuka Umuna got quite agitated about the suggestion that the left of his party appear to have a monopoly on passion. Ironically he got quite passionate about it. But (and this is what I shouted at the radio) .. he’s not running for the leadership and I don’t think that the left of any party has a monopoly on passion – it’s just we haven’t heard any passion from any of the other candidates.

So Jeremy Corbyn, the candidate who has got the left of the party, and plenty of Unions and new entrants to politics excited. and that is no bad thing. I was also interested to see that in contrast to one of the central criticisms of Corbyn (that he would make the Labour Party unelectable), the Indy and YouGov published some data showing the majorities of people who agreed with some of his policies.

Also – it has been suggested in some quarters that he would be the candidate the Tories would most like to win. I would dispute that. My gut tells me that Cameron going up a genuine thinker, a passionate leftwinger – he’d have his hands full.

I think that part of Corbyn’s apparent popularity is down to his a) ability to appear to rise above the personal attacks and petty squabbling of his rivals (reminiscent somewhat of Blair/Brown/Mandy?) and b) to his passion – he says what he thinks and believes what he says and he is genuine.

Now, do I think he would be Prime Minister – no I don’t think so. However, could he be the leader that the Labour Party needs at the moment? I actually think he might be.

I just hope that if he does win, he injects some passion into the Welsh Labour Party.

Finally – if you got through my ramblings about the Labour party, sit back and enjoy something else that is missing from the National Assembly for Wales – great oratorical skill (and yes, a bit of passion too)

This week I have mostly been getting annoyed … (part 2)

So straight on to part 2 – the Pope.

Bit of a heavy one this, so no photos or media.

I should probably point out as well that I’m not a Catholic.

As you may know, off the back of his Middle East Tour, Pope Francis spoke “informally” to reporters on board the papal aeroplane (who knew there was a papal aeroplane!), taking questions on a range of subjects, including child sexual abuse by Catholic priests. According to a CNN report, Pope Francis described sex abuse as a “horrific crime”, he called for a “zero tolerance” approach and compared it to, “by comparison, holding a black Mass”.

Now I admit I had to look this up.

From a quick bit of research, the actual practice is somewhat unclear, but I’ve gathered that it is a ritual characterised by the inversion of the traditional Catholic Mass, often featuring upside crucifxes and in the modern era it is linked/associated with Satanic worship sacrifice. Serious stuff.

The BBC’s Middle East Editor, Jeremy Bowen agreed. On Radio 4’s Today programme he said this was strong language from the Pope, language to be taken seriously. I agree – if the Leader of the Catholic Church, Christ’s representative on Earth is comparing child abuse to Satanic worship that is surely a sign he is taking the matter in hand and dealing with it*.

Isn’t it?

Well, that is a matter for debate.

From my admittedly limited knowledge of Catholic law excommunication is the ultimate sanction against a Catholic – cannot receive blessings or attend Mass and at least it used to also mean that unless the Pope interceded on their behalf they could not ascend to Heaven – again pretty strong stuff. So has Pope Francis excommunicated any of the Catholic priests convicted of child sexual abuse?

Um. Not that I can see.

Most recently an Australian priest was excommunicated for supporting gay marriage and women’s ordination. A Brazilian priest was also excommunicated for refusing to rescind a statement which he made regarding his belief that two people of the same sex could be in love. Now there is the possibility that I’m wrong about excommunication and it’s not the severe punishment that it a) sounds like or b) I think it is.

Or Pope Francis has not acted against at all against Catholic priests convicted of child sexual abuse. Referring once again to the CNN report, three bishops are apparently under investigation. One has been found guilty and the “penalty is being considered”. I’m sorry, considered? Surely turn all your evidence over to the courts and let him be found guilty and sentenced (one would hope strongly) by the laws of the land.

In my view, if Pope Francis is to be the reformer that many hope he will be/is (acknowledging that the Jesuit Order from whence he came is quite conservative) he needs to take decisive action on this issue, above all else. It will show the world (well beyond the Catholic population on the planet) that he truly believes this heinous crime is a “betrayal of the body of the Lord” and that he has the strength of will to deal it with properly and slowly begin the healing process for the victims of Catholic abuse around the world.

* I should like to point out that a learned colleague of mine has pointed out to me that arguably child sexual abuse is “even worse than mumbling a bunch of gibberish with an inverted cross on display”. I do agree.

This week I have mostly been getting annoyed … (part 1)

This week I have mostly ..

This week I have mostly ..

Ok, so a bit of a reference to Mark Williams’ brilliant character, Jesse, from The Fast Show (mainly because it suited the title and people in work have been doing references to Fast Show characters for the last few days), but it’s true.

It’s also a slightly lighter way of introducing a serious post.

There have been a couple of things in particular that, in the words of Peter Griffin, have really grinded my gears this week – the Pope and a guy called Joe.

Ok firstly, the guy called Joe.

It can’t have escaped anyone’s notice that in recent days America suffered yet another deadly shooting incident. Elliot Rodger went on what the media are describing as a “rampage”, killing six people and injuring a further 13. Using weapons and ammunition that he had purchased legally. I watched Robert Martinez (the father of one of the victims – Chris Martinez) make a statement to the press on the following day.

Robert Martinez has a point.

Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states very simply and unambiguously that: “everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”. Everyone has a right to life. And I firmly believe that this right to life is “trumps” (you’ll see why I’ve used that word in a moment) most other rights – especially those constitutional rights which, in the pecking order I think come below human rights.

So on to Joe.

Joe Wurzelbacher is an American conservative activist who gained notoriety in 2008 when he asked the then Democratic Candidate for President (Senator Barack Obama) about his small business tax policy. Wurzelbacher became known as Joe the Plumber and featured in some GOP adverts and campaign media coverage for a while.

So why has this person annoyed me?

He has written an open letter to the families of the victims of the Isla Vista shooting saying that their “dead kids don’t trump my constitutional rights” and specifically to Robert Martinez (who railed against the NRA and “craven politicians”) to “back off” suggesting that Martinez’s statement would be “exploited by gun-grab extremists as are all tragedies involving gun violence and the mentally ill by the anti-Second Amendment Left.”

There is so much here that grinds my gears – the insensitivity of the whole thing, the threatening language, the timing.

I know that Martinez politicised the tragedy as soon as he mentioned the NRA and politicians, but frankly in my opinion, Mr Martinez has a point.

America has suffered more than it’s fair share of pointless gun-violence incidents and despite this there appears to be little or no action from their leaders. The NRA is a powerful lobbying force in Washington. According to the Centre for Responsive Politics, the NRA’s lobbying spend regularly exceeds $1.5mn and in 2013 topped $3mn – so they do make it difficult for any change to happen.

The President, despite his left-wing credentials, appears powerless to do anything about not only the NRA but also gun-violence. There is, in my view, a whole range of things that could be brought in – further checks, balances, security systems, background checks, joining up the myriad of security agencies which exist in the US – the list goes on.

In my opinion, buying a gun should be one of the most difficult and highly regulated things you are legally allowed to do.

Q) Do you want a gun?

A) Yes.

Q) Why?

Q) What for?

Q) What are you intending to use it for?

Q) Do you have a history of mentall ill-health, drug abuse, domestic violence, alcohol abuse?

Q) Can you present 3 forms of valid identification?

Q) Will you submit to a full police verified background check?

Q) Will you agree to a 30 day cooling off period?

Q) Have you been on a gun-handling, maintenance and security course?

Q) Where will you keep the gun if this purchase is successful?

The whole process should start over for ammunition.

I know that, as David Cameron said, you cannot legislate against a switch flipping in someone’s brain. You cannot legislate for everything – but as a first try, let’s make it bloody difficult for anyone to get a gun in the first place.

(part 2 of this post to follow shortly – hopefully not a 5 month gap between posts this time ..)

Time’s a funny thing

So .. I know this blog isn’t as widely read as I would like (still working on that) but I know the last post I published was read by quite a few peeps from a certain audience – close friends etc, mainly because it was about my new daughter.

So this is 6 months on from the birth of my daughter and I’ve come to another realisation. This is going to really change science and physics as we know it so strap in.

I reckon that, based on my experience of the last 6 months, that time passes differently when you’ve got a small child.

Revolutionary I know.

For example, tasks that you think wouldn’t take very long seem to take ages and activities or noises, games etc that you feel you’ve been doing/playing for an hour have only lasted 3 minutes. Furthermore time passes differently even when you aren’t doing these things – I’m woken up by my daughter (over Christmas, so not at work), change of nappy, breakfast, get her dressed, play with her toys .. I suddenly realise its nearly time for her mid-morning nap and I’m not even dressed, then she falls asleep, wakes up, its time for her lunch and ours and then by the time the washing up is done and she’s played a bit, then its time for another nap, then she wakes and its tea time, and its bath and then bed and all of a sudden, its half 7!


Now for those readers without children I’m sure this won’t mean anything and for those      experienced parents they may be saying to themselves, “well yes, that’s what happens”, but for me, especially over Christmas,  this revelation about the passage of time was news to me (suppose it would be considering the definition of revelation ..)

But another thought struck me at the same time as this one about time. What I also realised is that, even though it takes ages to do bottles, prep and wash and sterilise and ages doing nappies and stuffing them and sorting out clothes and tidying away toys and cleaning up etc etc etc, absolutely none of that matters to me – at all. The passage of time in this way does not bother me at all – because it is time for and with my daughter and even though I get tired playing peekaboo for what feels like 4 hours and actually has only been 4 minutes, none of that matters.


None of that matters to me in anyway because I’m lucky enough to be spending time with my daughter and so even though all the things feel like they take ages – I really don’t care one bit.

A new post for a new phase

So I haven’t posted anything online on here for a while (in fact since March last year). One of the reasons for that was time, everyday life (and I got married too!) and work commitments, but also finding things to write about.

I had a period when I was unsure what I could or should write about because of work and how some things might look to outside audiences. It was also pointed out to me that posting  online either on a blog or on Twitter can provide content which could damage oneself professionally at some point in the future. Now I’m happy to stand by everything I write or say and argue with rational people but sometimes even that means I think twice about posting.

So, what to blog about?

I hope that from time to time I will still post about things that exercise me – mainly politics-related or current affairs, although I do post on Twitter alot so I’m covered a bit (as much as I can be in 140 characters). But right now I would like to write a little about a new phase of my life – as of 25 June this year, I am a dad.


My daughter (about 1hr old)

So this is my daughter. She arrived early and a bit ‘not according to plan’, but she is healthy and beautiful (although admittedly I’m biased).

Some of the details of Lily’s arrival are personal but sufficed to say she was delivered by emergency Caesarean section instead of how we thought she would be. And that was a scary experience for me, for any new dad I would have thought. One minute you are talking to the mother of your soon-to-be baby and a few seconds later there are alarms and someone is telling you to get changed into a pair of scrubs.

But she arrived and even though it is over done, I’ll say it here – I was smitten. Instantly. The only simple way to say it, is that the second I held this pink, noisy, slightly messy bundle in my arms I knew that I (turn away here if you want to avoid the soppiness) was in love and there was nothing that I wouldn’t do for her for the rest of my life. Nothing would be too small or trivial. And even though she was pretty out of it from the various drugs she was on at the time, I felt closer and more connected to my wife than ever before.

I could easily go on and on about the huge rollercoaster that the last four weeks have been (two separate emergency trips to hospital, both resulting in 5 day stays – but I might touch on that at some other point), but I am rapidly learning that sleep is now a high value commodity so I will pause for now.

Hopefully when time permits I’ll write more here about my new daughter and this brand new adventure I and the missus have got ourselves into.

And maybe touch on some politics every now and again.

Dave’s dodgy dinner dates

I can’t really take credit for the title of this one, i think i must have heard it on the news or from a report on the Commons this week, but i thought it was good so I’ve stolen it.

So this whole thing is kind of about money. Money and power. Money and power and influence. And politics. Its easy to see why it attracted the attention of the media and rightly so, however i think one of the more interesting things to think about is party funding. Clearly dinners with the PM, that aren’t minuted or attended by civil servants, for party donors from the private is not right or proper and at least when pressured (they shouldnt have had to be pressured) they released the information, but its largely to down to money.

Cameron needs to court wealthy donors in the same way as Labour needs to court the unions – they need some money to run their political operations and shenanigans. However, i believe that this reliance on large companies or groups or individuals for cash not only leads to the potential for stories like those we have seen recently but also removes the political process and politicians further from us normal people.

If there were to be a cap on donations to political parties, say maybe 20k, then the parties would have to go out, fundraise, meet people, encourage them to join the party, pay their subs – all of that. It might start to mean the end of lazy politics. Imagine that .. Politicians actually getting engaged with their constituents and communities.

So how to administer the donations? Again, I cant claim credit for this idea because i heard it on the radio this week. Set up an independent ombudsman/body with representatives from a range of ages and backgrounds, across the country. This body would receive donations from a blind trust at set points in a month and then pass on the donations to the individual parties. This would mean that no party would know who had given money and that way no-one could be accused of currying favour or influence.

I would like to think (because i’m slightly optimistic) that this will change and this will make a difference. But let’s be honest .. I don’t think it will and it probably won’t. Oh and lets just wait and see the politicians blame the lobbyists for this one.