Well, it has been quite an historic few months since I last poked my head out from beneath the covers to write a column for Your Thurrock. I spent quite a bit of time leading up to the General Election hiding from politicians vying for my vote – perhaps I should think about putting that “No Politicians” sign on my front door next time.
On a national level we had the historic Prime Ministerial debates, now undoubtedly an unavoidable part of an election campaign for party leaders wishing to claim the highest office in the UK, in which Nick Clegg showed that the Liberal Democrats should be a part of a true three horse race in the race for 10 Downing Street but, valiant though his challenge was, still only managed to make it into third place. The intractable view of the electorate was too hard to break for the Liberal Democrats and left them with fewer seats in Parliament than in the last election but Lady Luck, giving them an ‘A’ for effort, also gave Mr Clegg a consolation prize – the balance of power.
Then we had another historic event – the first coalition government for decades – as the Conservatives asked the Liberal Democrats to help them form a new government in the face of the Labour defeat that seemed inevitable from the outset and we said goodbye to Gordon Brown and New Labour brought down as they were by the war against terror, the MP expenses scandal, the huge budget deficit and the recession that some see as a direct result of deregulated banking practices. All of this was too much for Mr Brown to fight against and, looking defeated but relieved to be unburdened by the pressures of office, the unelected ex-Prime Minister stood down as leader of the Labour Party.
On a local level we had a dramatic change of power within days of the local election with Labour snatching victory from the jaws of defeat thanks, in no small part, to Conservative defections and so an undemocratic coup was staged leaving some with a feeling that they had wasted their vote. Some believe that another local election should have been called to have given the electorate of Thurrock some semblance of control over who was given a mandate to run the council even if in doing so the same result was reached.
On a personal level, I have had to cope with the end of my eleven-year-old marriage that has been both a source of great strength and of great pain for me but that has sadly run it’s course and must now be taken to the factory to be turned into cat food along with a large chunk of my life. As a coping mechanism I have taken on more voluntary work including becoming the Mental Health Lead for Thurrock LINk that has taken over my life somewhat but has taken my mind off of the problems in my personal life.
I reached the grand old age of thirty-nine last month and have been reassessing my life as all men do as a milestone birthday looms high on the horizon. Looking back on one’s life is a bittersweet pastime showing, as it does, a catalogue of mistakes, missed opportunities and the huge weight of negativity thrust upon you as well as the achievements, triumphs and positivity lavished upon you. It also gives you a chance to try to change those things you can change and try to accept the things you cannot.
I have taken this opportunity to decide upon a direction for this column. I will still have the odd purely personal column but I have decided that I will look at issues in adult health and social care, giving my personal opinions and raising concerns where they jump out and try to throttle the life out of me.
I hope that my absence from Your Thurrock has been noticed and that the one or two readers I get missed me. I hope that I will be able to interest and amuse you with my views on various subjects in the coming months and that I can, in some small way, make a difference, to my readers and to the public at large.
See you next time!