It was the LPUK debacle that took the wind out of my sails when it came to blogging, it was a miserable time and I'm not going to rake over those coals.
Since then I have continued to read blogs from left, right and centre, see side panels for the current ones, as well as follow a number of other sources of understanding political and economic theory. One of my favourites has been the Planet Money podcast from NPR. I've also continued to follow the Cato daily podcasts and the, fast declining, House of Comments podcast.
One thing I've tried to do is reconcile my desire to help those worse off with my dislike of Labour. I've really tried to listen to Labour people and read articles from the left with an open mind, but all that seems to have happened is that I even more convinced that Labour is not the solution to the need for a strong welfare system, and yes I do think we need to provide a strong welfare support system. I will also say the same about health care being free at the point of delivery. I worry about the system falling down because of Labour's insistence in being conservative and resistant to change. I intend to blog on these subjects so I'll so no more.
My dislike of Labour is strange. My father, who was a great influence politically, was brought up in the slums of Bradford. He and his brother both pased what was the equivalent of the 11+ and were awarded scholarships to Bradford Grammar School. They weren't allowed to take them up because they had to go out and support the family as soon as they could leave school. Their father, who I never met, was a drunk but now we would probably recognise it as WW1 PTSD. He developed a dislike of the Unions when working in the mills before he was old enough to join the Fleet Air Arm and then after the war and he thought they were a joke and had no idea improve the lot of the working man. He was also dismayed at the way they treated women after the war, sending them back to the home and not recognising their ability to work.
I've been even more dismayed with the Conservatives over the past few years. I've always been uncomfortable with them socially but they really do seem to be doing all they can to live down to their epithet as the nasty party. Their support for crony capitalism through big business is also a major worry. Having said that a recent experience and current treatment by the local hospital leads me to think that perhaps their reforms are a good thing. Perhaps I'll expand on that later.
As I've commented elsewhere that I must be one of the few people whose opinion of the LibDems has improved over the past few years. Perhaps not to the point of joining them or even voting for them, but I have been generally impressed with the way they have tackled coalition Government and made hard choices. I suppose its partly wishful thinking as I look for a party that is socially and economically liberal.
There's a few recent stories I would have blogged about and I might still because they are of interest, specifically Wonga and Nelson Mandela. Maybe that will give me something to do tomorrow as the weather is looking bad.
On the personal front I've put a lot of effort into learning bridge and like to think I've become quite competent. I don't get to play at the club much due to work so I'm confined to online bridge and computer games. It should be said though that computer programmes have become quite sophisticated so they are a good challenge.
Earlier in the year I pushed the boat out, literally, and treated myself to a 10m yacht, Venezia. I got fed up with going on school boats and chartering and its a good time to buy. I like to think I got a good deal, but will only know when I come to sell. So far I can confirm that BOAT stands for Break Out Another Thousand. I shall be regaling readers with my salty sea tales as the year goes on and the sailing season starts.
On the work front I went to Buenos Aires in 2012 for 6 weeks to help a mobile operator understand how to manage their network and understand the customer experience. That was interesting as anyone who knows me will remember that I served in the Falklands war. Obviously I didn't discuss that but I did go down to their war memorial and pay my respects.
As soon as I got back an old colleague asked me to help out with a bid for some government work on what they call the Mobile Infrastructure Project. They won that work and what should have been 3 months work has been going for 20 months. Its a pain because it has meant working in London and for a while I was up there 5 days a week. Its now 2 days in London and anywhere between 0.5 and 3 days at home. It pays for the running of a boat.
Well that's a quick trot through where I am now, so on with a restarted blogging career.
I've been finding myself commenting on a number of blogs and muttering to myself that "I should write something about that" over the past few months. So maybe the time has come to dust off the old blog and start committing my views to the Internet in the vain hope that someone apart from bots finds them interesting. I've updated the side bars and already a photograph below as a start. So lets see what happens.
Posted by Simon Fawthrop at 21:15
Last June I started a project for DCMS that required working in the HMRC build at 100 Parliament Street two days a week. I get the train up and walk across Westminster Bridge. In November I decided to pass away one of the evening up there taking some night photographs. I was particularly pleased with this one: