Archive for June, 2016

Vote ‘No Change’

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

eu flagYou might be surprised that an exponent of change would suggest voting for the status quo, but that is what I’m doing.  It seems to me that what ‘facts’ there are all point to us being better off inside than outside.  Whether we are in or out of Europe, no one is suggesting we can ignore it in the future and if we are trading with a big, powerful organisation, they get to dictate the terms, with no input from us, so our businesses will have to adopt EU standards if we want to sell our goods and services there. 

Britain is a mongrel nation made up of wave after wave of new comers to these shores, from the Romans to the Saxons, to the Danes, to the Normans, the Dutch, the Germans and then all the immigrants from the various colonies.  It seems to me that we have been enriched by these waves of newcomers, and if we examine our DNA most of us have threads from all over the world that makes us who we are. 

Getting out is neither a simple, nor instant nor pain-free process; there is no certainty of what life will be like on the other side of that decision.  We may not particularly like our neighbours, we may enjoy poking fun at them, but we are far better with neighbours than strangers.

You have to change things for the right reasons and not continuing because it is hard work, or occasionally frustrating is like bailing on your marriage the first time you have a row.  You work it out together, talk, listen and compromise and make a better future using each others strengths.  I think most of us agree that co-operation, communication and peace are better than their alternatives.

I think we should stay…

Walking in the footsteps of others

Monday, June 6th, 2016


footpathI recently spent an amazing week in the Lake District.  I wanted to explore some of the higher hills that I hadn’t visited before.  Technically they qualify as mountains, (and certainly felt that way!) but that term feels odd to apply to our English landscape.  I walk regularly, and certainly take sensible precautions, but these hills can be dangerous, especially to the inexperienced.  The thing about challenging yourself is that you can’t do it by doing things that you know you can do.  That makes this kind of venture intrinsically scary.  There are a number of challenges such as could I physically cope with it and could I find my way.  These routes mean you are slogging uphill for two to three hours and then, faced with an equally challenging descent.  A 7 mile walk can easily take 5 hours. 

One thing you can’t help noticing in the Lakes is how the landscape is scarred by people’s passage.  However, there are are also places which are totally unmarked and they make you very aware that you can very easily get lost.  These days people seem obsessed by doing their own thing and being original but actually there is an awful lot to be said for following in the footsteps of others.  When I saw these paths I knew that they worked; I didn’t know if they were easy, but I knew if I followed them I would get down.  Isaac Newton referred to “Standing on the shoulders of giants” as a positive that comes from following what others have done.  I have spent my life challenging the status quo and just repeating what others have done, but there are times, and fell walking is one of them, where you can appreciate why this can be a very smart option.