Monday, 11 November 2013


I’m an unashamed optimist. Not that being cheerful come what may always makes sense – the First World War was full of optimistic generals. But clicking on the “let’s go for it” switch – click - usually results in a better result than wrenching at the “aagghh! How typical, I feel awful - I expect today’ll be another shocker too” switch.
Is it too much to expect there’ll be more good nature than bad? Is it a surprise that crime, teenage pregnancy, house fires, drug abuse and alcohol consumption have all massively declined in this country over the past decade. Don’t believe me? Go check.
Is it a surprise that we have a bigger manufacturing industry than France, that we make more vehicles in the UK than we did in 1980 and 50% more than we did 4 years ago?

In a developed world increasingly dependent on service industries is Germany with its relatively old fashioned industries and high labour costs concerned about its lagging service sector – only 2/3 of its GDP compared to the UK’s 80%?

Are we all doomed in the UK?
If you listen to the hail-fellow-well-met Mr Farage you’d think so.

I saw a bit of Question Time on Thursday. He was on the panel. It was in Boston, the one town in the UK where immigration is a particularly tricky issue. Well in the part I saw our Nigel was murdered by a reasonable “immigration may be difficult but it’s an integration issue and as much our fault as theirs” audience. They were brilliant, open minded and kind.
But especially encouraging was Benjamin Zephaniah, the Birmingham born Rastafarian poet who is best known through his brilliant poem “Talking Turkeys” which starts, but you’ll remember it…

Be nice to yu turkeys dis christmas
Cos' turkeys just wanna hav fun
Turkeys are cool, turkeys are wicked
An every turkey has a Mum.

The panel was talking about the closure of the Portsmouth shipyards. Grave faces all round.  Farage “it’s a crying shame”. There was talk about our strategic vulnerability as an island and the prospective invasion of the Falklands. And Benjamin quietly said:- “I just wonder what would happen if peace broke out worldwide. I mean would we need these warships? Mind you I worry about all those jobs. Can’t we make nice cruise ships there instead?

Click. On goes that switch.

And finally a great quote from the American writer, William Saroyan:

Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

Click. Click. Click

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