Thursday, 18 October 2012
My life has changed in 2012. I left my wife of nearly thirty years in January and it's been a a tough ride on life's emotional rollercoaster. The effect this has had on my two daughters has been more than I thought it would but the change had to be made. When that great singer, Paul Weller, made the decision to leave The Jam thirty years ago - a few months after I got married - he shocked the world. Recently, he spoke of his decision.
'It didn't seem a particularly monumental decision to me. Any radical change in life has an upsetting and awful effect for other people, in whatever relationship. But what's the alternative? You carry on and pretend you're enjoying it? What's the point in that? Someone's always going to get hurt along the way. You either have to be true to yourself or live a lie. And I'm not prepared to live a lie.'
The great man's words sum up my decision to do what I did ten months ago. I wrote on these pages towards the end of 2011 that this year would bring huge changes in my life. And it has - for the better. I look forward to 2013 and the even bigger and better changes next year promises.
I've been writing drivel on this here blog for nearly 5 years now. When I first started I was a keen blogger, posting almost daily and keen to share my inane ramblings with the world. It's brought me friends from around the world, particularly Australia and the United States. Some people even follow this blog and for that I'm particularly grateful. However, I've decided to - as the Scots say - 'gie it a rest'. I'm not going to delete the blog but I won't be updating very often either. Not that many people read it anyway so it's hardly a loss to the literary world!
I can recommend the blogs of my very good friends. Adullamite, a mature Hearts supporter who lives in England but always has something interesting to say; Lilly and Peggy in Australia, two fabulous bloggers whose view of the world is truly inspiring; and, across the pond, Joanna's blog is a quite brilliant read. There are other blogs listed on the right hand side that are also worth a visit.
It's been a great adventure and I've enjoyed writing my witterings. Thank you to everyone who has visited the blog and commented on my posts. To think talented people from the other side of the world have taken the time to read my gibberish outpourings touches my heart.
I may post again at some point in the months ahead. Hopefully with news of another life changing decision. But for now, it's goodnight from me - but not before another plug for my book, Hearts Greatest Games, still available on Amazon and in all good bookshops!
Monday, 15 October 2012
What does independence mean?
Independence is about making Scotland more successful. At its most basic, it is the ability to take our own decisions, in the same way as other countries. Scotland is a society and a nation. No one cares more about Scotland's success than the people who live here and that, ultimately, is why independence is the best choice for our future.
Sweden has its enhanced parental rights, including generous maternity and paternity leave; Norway its £300 billion Pension Fund from oil; and Denmark has been able to lead the world in onshore wind technology. And what do they have in common? They are all small independent states.Independence will allow us to take decisions in Scotland that will improve the lives of families, communities and individuals across our country. With independence we will have the ability to solve our own problems and to make the most of the very many opportunities open to all of us. It will allow us to build a stronger nation and a better future for us all.
With independence we can work together to make Scotland a more ambitious and dynamic country. We could create an environment where our existing and new private industries can grow more easily. We would have the economic levers to create new jobs and take full advantage of our second, green energy windfall. And instead of many young people having to leave Scotland to fulfil their ambitions they would be able to stay and take advantage of the increased opportunities here. We will be able to address the priorities of people in Scotland, from better state pensions to universal free childcare. Scotland could do even more to lead the world in areas like renewable energy and tackling climate change, and play our part in creating a more peaceful and stable world. Independence will allow us to make Scotland a better place to live.
A partnership of equals
And independence will mean a strong, new relationship between Scotland and the rest of the UK. It will create a partnership of equals - a social union to replace the current political union. That means, on independence day, we'll no longer have a Tory government, but the Queen will be our Head of State, the pound will be our currency and you will still be watching your favourite programmes on the BBC. As members of the EU there will be open borders, shared rights, free trade and extensive cooperation.
The big difference will be that Scotland's future will be in our own hands. Instead of only deciding some issues here in Scotland, independence will allow us to take decisions on all the major issues. That is the reality of independence in this interdependent world.
From the SNP website.
Saturday, 13 October 2012
Why Some Men Want a Dog And Not a Wife:
1. The later you are, the more excited your dogs are to see you.
2. Dogs don't notice if you call them by another dog's name.
3. Dogs like it if you leave a lot of things on the floor.
4. A dog's parents never visit.
5. Dogs agree that you have to raise your voice to get your point across.
6. Dogs find you amusing when you're drunk.
7. Dogs like to go hunting and fishing.
8. A dog will not wake you up at night to ask, "If I died, would you get another dog?"
9. A dog will let you put a studded collar on it without calling you a pervert.
10. If a dog smells another dog on you, they don't get mad. They just think it's interesting.
And last, but not least:
11. If a dog leaves, it won't take half of your stuff.
To test this theory:
Lock your wife and your dog in the garage for an hour. Then open it and see who's happy to see you.
Wednesday, 10 October 2012
Sunday, 7 October 2012
A week ago, a little 5-year-old girl was playing happily with her family in Wales. It had been a normal Sunday night with the family, like thousands of others across the UK, contemplating the week ahead. Just twenty-four hours later, however, that family’s world was devastated when their wee girl was taken away in the most awful of circumstances. Little April Jones was last seen climbing into the front of a van in the Welsh town of Machynlleth in mid Wales - and has not been seen since.
Mark Bridger has now been charged with murder, child abduction and attempting to pervert the course of justice. He is due before magistrates in Aberystwyth on Monday.
The wee girl’s body has still to be found and quite what her family must be going through right now can only be imagined. Now Mr Bridger will be afforded a fair trial as justice demands and until he is proved without doubt to be guilty then judgement should be reserved - difficult though that may be. However, if he does stand trial and is found guilty one can only assume he will receive life imprisonment. Whether life will actually mean life is another matter.
My view - and I suspect this may be shared by others - is that for crimes such as this, and if there is absolutely no doubt about the guilt of the accused, then capital punishment should be brought back. I’ve heard the arguments against this such as there have been many miscarriages of justice through the years and capital punishment might result in the death of innocent people. Fair enough but if there is no doubt that the accused carried out such a heinous crime then they do not deserve to live a life they have denied one so young. Two wrongs don’t make a right I hear human rights protesters say. Well what about the human rights of the little girl allegedly murdered and the rights of her shattered family who will have to live with this devastation for the rest of their years?
I’ve also heard the view that paedophiles need treatment for their ‘illness’ and should be rehabilitated. Now I may not be politically correct here but there are two words that spring to my mind when I hear this - absolute bollocks. Little April Jones will never be ‘rehabilitated’ and there can be no treatment that will ever ease the suffering of her family. Committing an act of murder is appalling at any time; when it is committed against a young, defenceless child there should be no question of rehabilitation. Anyone who commits such an act should pay for this with their own life. Yes, a life for a life. Instead, the British taxpayer will have to pay for the upkeep of a child murderer, no doubt kept in isolation for his own safety.
As the grandfather of a 5 year old girl, the disappearance of April Jones - and I sincerely hope they find her body at least - brings home just how dangerous our society can be. If someone can commit such an evil act, in my view they don’t deserve to live.
It’s been decades since capital punishment was last served in this country. If the murderer of little April Jones is brought to justice, I have no doubt there would no shortage of people willing to put the rope round their neck.