Friday, 19 September 2014

Scotland Decides. The Great British Debate

In May 1707 Queen Anne processed triumphantly and in spectacular pomp through the streets of London to attend a service of thanksgiving at St Pauls Cathedral, the spiritual home of her reign. She was paying personal devotion to god for the Act of Union that had joined her Kingdoms of England and Scotland under one Parliament and one Crown. Her crown.

300 years later, September 18th 2014, another Queen and distant descendant of Anne, Elizabeth II, sits quietly tucked away in much less spectacular fashion at her Highland retreat of Balmoral waiting to see if that historic union remains as dawn breaks over the remote Scottish estate. No doubt it will be a restless night.

And she is not alone.

The Scottish Independence referendum is a historic moment for this small coalition of islands regardless of the outcome (which indication shows is going to be close run).
It is a catalyst and for change and forces into our political arena many more questions that must be answered.

If Alex Salmond’s “Yes” campaign carries the day his career will have seen him go from a political laughing stock when the Scottish National Party won its first three parliamentary seats at to the victorious First Minister of the World’s Newest Independent Nation State. All achieved in a mere 25 years, an impressive achievement in itself but the hard work will have only just begun.
Scotland will become the latest of a long line of countries to have wrestled its sovereign power from the grip of a Westminster parliament back into their own control as the remnants of the former British Empire continues to disintegrate.

Great Britain will no longer remain and the United Kingdom will, at best, be a little less united, at worst a floundering group of small countries in turmoil.

If the Yes camp do prevail It will remain to be seen whether the doom mongering on the hot topics of currency, banking & business collapse and potential exclusion from the E.U all become reality? Or whether they simply fade away like the spectre of The Millennium Bug which had us all believing the western world would grind to a halt at midnight on 01.01.2000.

If the Scottish electorate agree with former UK Prime Minister and fellow Scotsman Gordon Browne that the union is “Better Together” and the vote is a “No” to independence the promises of further home rule for the Holyrood parliament will increase the demand for further analysis of how Westminster functions with regards to England, Ireland and Wales.

It is impossible to ignore the sheer volume of engagement and participation involved in the debate during the election campaigns. In an age where the populous feels so disconnected from and poorly represented by their governments discussion on this issue has been widespread and well informed. Clearly when voters are given a definite, measurable voice on specific questions or issues they engage more passionately than when they are voting for a politician and his endless empty promises. 

Could this be the way of the future of our politics? More direct involvement in decision making for the masses? A tantalising thought.

In a time when a number of British subjects and members of our own society have been radicalised into leaving these shores to fight for foreign forces in terror regimes and are committing horrific acts of barbarism, should we be less worried by the fear of losing the labels of “Great” Britain and the “United” kingdom and more concerned with the realities of ignoring the changes required to our own state. Whatever state that may be. 

So as the sun slowly creeps above the landscape and the morning dew finally extinguishes the burning question of independence in Scotland, a gathering wind carries the embers south across the border and sparks into a flame.

What next for the British Isles and its Politics & Policies?

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The Sword of Damocles?

Dionisius & The Sword of Damocles

The famous proverb states that “A rose by any other name is still a rose” 

By simply changing only the name, the beauty of the original is still clearly evident to all those who witness it… The name of the specimen has little or no influence on how we see the flower.

The same can be said of a character in a book.
Within the illicit world of the printed & published word; A rose (or a character in a book) by any other name is, well, anything you want it to be…

If using the real names of people, it’s necessary to be aware of the legal ramifications.
If characters are named in works it starts to open up questions of “permissions” for usage of names, slander, libel and a whole host of other lawyer type words start to pop up and infiltrate the world of the writer…

By removing the name, or using a pseudonym, for the character you have removed any incriminating evidence and left the subjects anonymity intact…

Or have you?

When I was aiming to use real names in the book, I had decided that the only people who should feature heavily and whose skeletons would be aired would be mine and my Mother’s, it seemed only fair.  The work is a study of “OUR” relationship and our lives, other characters would be necessary to give the work depth and meaning but on the whole the book would “skirt” around issues that could embarrass, upset or, provoke legal action.

Now that some names are to be removed or altered, the above rules of restraint and censorship are thrown out of the window, changing the name, has in effect given carte blanche to write anything and everything that I desire.

Removing the name removes the issue of slander but it gives a freedom to delve as far into the lives of these people as I WANT or decide to.

It is in fact an access all areas pass. Topics and situations that were out of bounds to preserve certain individuals dignity and pride are now as equally accessible as the dirt that I will be dishing on myself.
So the removal of ACTUAL names is a  double edged sword, whilst the characters actual name may have been removed, those close to the person in question or those that know them will still know who I mean whether I call them Jim, Sue or A1. ...It makes no difference.

Anonymity to the masses = Humiliation and hurt to those that know you

Those that wish to remain anonymous do so only in name and have inadvertently opened the literary “Pandora’s Box” where all subjects and circumstances are allowed. All allegations can be made without the fear of legal proceedings.

This all mounts up to only one thing…a much juicier book at the end of the day

And juicier books, sell more copies

The writer formerly known as
(Now to be called Sue)


Tuesday, 23 August 2011

A Big Fat Thank You!

After the fantastic response that the last post I put on here had, the first chapter of the ominous book I’m Writing (Killing Christopher, It has been hard to face the task of coming up with something that would aptly and snugly glide right in as the next post after with the ease and style of Lorraine Kelly delivering a particularly tedious link on morning T.V…

Not a hint of growler in sight for the ever giggling presenter

After much thought, I have decided that it is an almost impossible task. But here goes.

First, my deep gratitude for the flood of comments and the support you have shown and for the messages and mails that you have sent. They have really helped to breathe new life into a severely flagging mission. I feel renewed by the warmth shown and driven by the occasional critique that was offered up, which all was taken in the best way.

All in all, I am, a week after the event, pleased that I made the decision to post the document. It has helped and given the project a much needed nudge.

Secondly I wanted to apologise for the distinct lack of attention I have paid, or would seem to have paid, to this blog.  It has been almost a week since I updated it, a cardinal rule in the world of blogging. My only defence is that I wanted the chapter to remain first on the page for maximum exposure.

Third, as I said before I feel renewed in my efforts with the book and have been working on it with new passion for the last week.  I will keep you updated on its progress but for now I will move the issue to the side.  Please continue to spread the link as far and wide as you can. It was really helpful.  And thank you again

For now my attentions turn to rather more frivolous occasions.

Myself. My best mate and the ever wondrous sister are heading to Manchester Pride’s Big Weekend for 4 days of hedonism and carnage all with silly T-shirts, lashings of alcohol and with a Parade to boot. What fun!!

We have a 2 bed apartment booked for the 4 days with Wi-Fi available so I will aim to blog a little while I’m there.


Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Killing Christopher

After much deliberation & careful thought I have decided, in the true spirit of openness and sharing, to publish the first chapter of the book that I am currently working on.

I thought that it would achieve 2 main aims in this context.

1.       To serve as a piece of extended background information for this blog, detailing how and why I am in the position I am in and why I hope to achieve some of the things I do.

2.       I hope that it may gain me some valuable feedback. This is my first writing project and the whole process as well as the resulting prose have morphed and changed along the way. Feedback and critique can only help further this.

I also need to get over the fear of sharing. Letting go of my words….  So here goes.

The work is pretty much intact as I typed it first draft. There will be alterations and amendments but this will give you an idea of where I am starting from.

I hope to look back on this moment in years to come with a cigar, a brandy and a deep -bellied laugh at how benign it all is after a long and satisfying career in the art of the written word.

Feel free to express your thoughts, ideas and comments.

The document is stored on Google Docs


Rinse & Repeat

Right. My blogging cherry has now well and truly been popped.

I have several posts behind me and, although I would be the first to admit that they range in quality of both content and delivery,  the first ominous feelings of “Cyber Stage Fright” are now behind me. 
 I may only be a chorus girl struggling her way through the routine at the back and not yet the front stage prima ballerina of the web but the worst is over…

Now, before I succumb to the desire to produce endless posts that are aimed at gaining a following or shamefully written to please, I need to stop. Take 5 and focus.

The original aim of this blog was, to chart my attempts and first tentative steps into a new career and a complete lifestyle overhaul.

To help plan and plot my path as much as document it.

But this has all started to seem terribly self-indulgent and conceited. From what I have read in the blog community to write purely about yourself reeks of a level of vanity that is more befitting a “Geordie shore “ “Star” than a human being who aims at being taken seriously and saying something worth reading.

Then again, I need to re-think who I am writing for.  I don’t was to seem ungrateful for anyone who reads or comments  ( because I’m really not) and it is obviously more satisfying to feel “read”  than alone in the blogosphere, but it is for myself as much as for anyone else? To develop my writing skills and to build and online “Filing Cabinet” of my ideas, thoughts, issues & memories as well as to serve as a journal, all of which I can then utilize to help achieve the end goal, The Book, to give its prose depth and a clarity of purpose ,whilst  de-cluttering  my mind so I can focus on the task at hand.

Talking of focus, the newly found joys of blogging have rather drawn me away from my other endeavour, the painting.

The Exhibition that I have been invited to join is rapidly approaching and with the festivities of Manchester Pride taking up almost a week (including recovery time), time is running out to meet the self declared  “collection” number of 5 pieces…

So I am away to consider my next move blog wise, to muse on what I really want to say & spend some time on the canvas that has been a sketch for weeks, that will become “The Exchange”, the final for my Falmouth collection.

Some time alone with the paints and some good music may clear my head and my nagging blog doubts.


Sunday, 14 August 2011

Reasons To Be Cheerful?

In lieu of the Dark Days that have passed of late; Civil & Social upset in our country, the hideous actions of a madman Anders Behring Breivik in Norway & the tragic passing of the greatly talented Amy Winehouse

I thought it would be nice to lift the mood slightly…

There may be chaos in parts of our nation and our world as a whole but I believe that we have the power to pull together and rise like a phoenix from the ashes!

So all in the best possible taste are a list of reasons to keep your chin up tired Britain!

 Reason No 1: Royal Brides
Ok, ok so the nuptials of Prince William to The New Duchess were 3 months ago, but who can get enough of The Former Miss Middleton. Her Megawatt smile and impeccable, flawless turn-out have made her a hit around the world. A valuable asset in these times!

Royal Wedding Day April 2011

The Duchess In America, Dazzling in McQueen

Holding her own in L.A, Wearing Jenny Packham

We were of course treated to a 2nd Royal wedding this year. Princess Anne, The Princess Royal's daughter & the Queen’s eldest grandchild married England rugby player Mike Tindall in a ceremony that was as far from that of William & Kate in miles as it was in Pomp & Protocol.

The small private affair at Canongate Kirk was as touching as the first wedding was grand but was very befitting of Zara, who is of the “New Generation” of Royals.  Popular and in touch with people.
Both these royal brides and their husbands give us hope for the future of “Brand Britain”

Reason No 2: The Queens Diamond Jubilee

Her Majesty the Queen

Come on. Deny me that HRH Queen Elizabeth is an EXTRAORDINARY person. Few on this planet have lived with the duty, the state secrets, the scrutiny, the tragedy and the greatest period of social change this country has ever seen. All without as much as ruffling her hair.

The Diamond Jubilee will be the 2nd that the country, nay, the world has ever seen. Queen Victoria is the only other holder of the Medal that will be awarded to Her Majesty on the events dawning.

We proved for William & Kate that we still have a love for the Royal and in this age where reality is so harsh and grim and our politicians are proving s unjust and corrupt. Could the new era of royals provide us with a new symbol of hope?

Reason 3: The Olympics

Face it, it’s happening. Whatever the cost of Building (and RE-building what has been damaged). Whatever your thoughts, the Olympics are coming to our shores, in less than a year! Come on Team GB, let’s not Balls it up!

If the Olympics really aren’t your thing, then maybe glad news that “The 5 J’s”, Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha, Jane Horrocks & June Whitfield, have agreed 3 new “Ab Fab” specials. 1 to coincide with Christmas. 2 for the Olypmics.

Who could want more?  A Smorgasbord of Mood Elevating National Events to lift even the darkest of hearts?

So screw the endless cuts & the harshness of reality. Let’s do what the Brit’s do best.
Stiff upper lip. 
Heads high and March on…..

looking towards the royal family in a new reign of symbolism?
The one last glimmer of light in a rapidly dulling global torch

And at only 66p per year per person. The Royals are INFINITELY cheaper than our M.P’s & a much sounder investment. The currency of Kings  & Queens never fluctuates despite the global market… and it’s the one thing WE STILL DO BEST!!

God Save The Queen


The Beast Within

As the dust finally settles on a week that has seen our Once Glorious Island humiliated & horrified, leaving our Government and its many Ministers poring over new policies & protocols that will aim to protect us from future “Self-harm” and disruption, we should not forget that the same Policy Makers & principal decision makers in this country have proved themselves time & time again to be as crooked, if not more so, than the swarm of rioters and looters that swept through our cities like a plague of locusts.

If we look at the actions of the rioters and the basic choice that they made,

The Choice to let “Greed” & “Desire” take the place of “Right” & “Wrong”

Then their actions are, in PRINCIPLE, no different too;

·         The M.P’s Expenses Uproar last year (had we all forgotten?) Ministers claiming for Gardening services. £16,000 for Curtains, Rent Holiday homes, I could go on…
·         Our Banking Bosses who plunged the country into financial chaos whilst pocketing HUGE bonuses for themselves, only to be bailed out by US, the taxpayer
·         The phone hacking scandal currently in question with regards to the press
·         The headlines & propaganda produced by the press and the tabloid coverage of the above subjects that all fuels anger at all levels of the social scale
·         The deep rooted corruption & bribery within the Police Force

When you add these to the latest scandal related to expenses, to hit our headlines, involving more than 140,000 public sector workers who, using government-issue, state funded credit cards, are running up an annual bill in excess of £1 BILLION on their Expenses, the complete picture is not a happy one. 
That same amount would have paid 50,000 nurses’ annual salary or would go towards preventing the proposed cuts to the Police Force at a time when the public mood is one of growing fear.
For a more detailed look at this, click the links below;

All smiles for Paul Leinster CBE, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency
 as he signs the £31,000 expenses claim he filed last year.
 On top of his £200,000 Salary

As with the M.P scandal of last year, the list of payments made by the claimants would be laughable if the joke was not literally at our continued and growing expense

Paul Leinster CBE, chief executive of the Environment Agency, clocked up £31,181.59 from June 2008 to 
March 2009 - including more than £17,000 on hotel bills and £734 on a dinner for 13 agency staff.

Local councils also racked up huge claims

At Canterbury City Council alone, 91 corporate card holders spent £156,000 last year, of which £18,571 was on 'hotels and resorts', £1,052 on 'cruise liners' and £1,159 at 'toy shops'

Claims were also made for “entertainment”

Expensive wines for meetings

And one amateur dramatics fan even claimed for set design and sheet music for a production!

These allegations and revelations must surely be taken into account when we reflect upon & draw conclusions on the last week’s events. How can we hope that the most cut off, remote and lost parts of our society can 
reform themselves and heal, when their Moral leaders are so continually and publically exposed as at fault?
And the faults are not mishap,s they are equal to the raids on Dixons.…

Deliberate deception for reasons of greed and personal gain

 David Cameron himself stated in his address to Parliament,
“We will do whatever is necessary to restore law and order on to our streets”

Maybe we could just alter that Mr Cameron?

How about…
“We will ALL do whatever is necessary to restore law and order at ALL levels of our society”

We all have some form of responsibility in this. If we fail, then we will only witness Great Britain, what was once the largest and proudest empire on Earth, deteriorate further into a sad second rate state and our slow disappearance from the World Map