Monthly Archives: June 2016

Well, We F**ked That Up

I’ve already written several angry and sweary social media posts this morning, so I will try my best for this to be neither – no promises though.

I’m obviously writing this in the aftermath of the Leave vote in the British referendum – a result that has genuinely devastated me and so this post is an attempt to clear my own thoughts on the subject.

The first thing I want to state quite clearly is: Not in my name. I didn’t vote for this and I don’t agree with it. I think it is not only the wrong decision to have made, but the wrong message to send to the rest of the world, but also, more importantly, our children.

We have said to the world that we want to leave and be on our own. We don’t want to work together, but we want to ‘take back’ our country. Take it back to where, to do what with it exactly?

In my social media posts I squarely put the blame on the shoulders of anyone that voted Leave – I still do. But I also had some replies that told me it was democracy in action and that we shouldn’t blame ‘the people’. On top of that I listened to the radio this morning and the voices of some of ‘the people’ who voted Leave.

Listening to the voice on the radio it seems that for lots of people this vote was a protest vote, a sense of ‘things can’t get any worse, so let’s change the one thing we can change’.

So the austerity cuts that have hit this country hard, and pockets of this country even harder have caused many people to feel so negative that they have voted to leave an organisation that pumps millions of pounds back into regeneration projects for those generations. The Tory leadership that wanted us to stay in Europe was also the Tory leadership that was so determined to inflict austerity on us.

I still blame those that voted Leave, but I blame the Tories too.

And while we had the Tories screaming about austerity, then trying to weakly defend Europe where was Labour? In fighting and weak leadership caused them to hand the general election to the Conservatives (and hasten austerity), even weaker leadership and ineffectual campaigning meant that they could rouse, or persuade, or explain to their core followers what this vote was really about.

I still blame those that voted Leave, but I blame Labour too.

One of the other elements of this vote that has been widely reported in the media is the age split of the vote. In simplistic terms, the older you are the more likely you were to vote Leave. More and more we are turning into a country that doesn’t understand the demographic fortune (or misfortune) that different generations are born into. We seem to be a country where those that were born into demographic misfortune are just told to work harder and suffer through it by those that were born into demographic fortune. We seemed to willingly believe the lie that those that were born into demographic fortune have got there by their own hard work and skill alone. And if you don’t believe that this is the case just look at house prices and the way they have risen in relation to average wages. The baby boomer generation all bought houses with relative ease; their kids struggled to do so, but have houses, even if some of them have negative equity or crippling mortgages; while the grandkids of the baby boomers are likely to be a generation of renters.

I still blame those that voted Leave, but I blame the older generation too that have forgotten the demographic fortune they were born into.

And as for the taking back our country bit. It seems that we believed the lie that an unelected elite from Europe rules us. Instead we have returned power to the British government that is predominantly made up of white, upper middle class, privately educated men – if that’s not an ‘elite’ then what is? On top of that, but with David Cameron’s resignation we will shortly have a new Prime Minister that certainly hasn’t been voted in by the electorate.

As far as I am concerned this is a sad day for this country.

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Swimming Season Over

At least it is for me.

I’ve been injured for the last eight weeks or so and although it’s slowly getting better it’s a long way from fixed. Tonight I finally bit the bullet and cancelled my entries to the BLDSA’s Bala swim. I also withdrew from my place in a Channel Relay team.

The Bala swims were to be one of my training weekends for Windermere – the plan was to use events as long distance training opportunities. Without Bala I’m not going to be able to train enough for Windermere, so that’s out for this year.

Bugger!

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Ugh!

I’m trying really hard to even know what my emotions are right now, yet alone name them.

Despair – what is this world coming to, how can someone behave like this? How can disagreements, different points of view lead to murder? How is this possible, how do we let it be possible, how do we go on in a world where it is possible?

Anger – how dare people do this, how dare someone take a life in this way, how dare someone threaten our community, society and way of life in this way (because that’s what it feels like)?

Fear – how can my son grow up in a world like this? I want him to be open and loving and brave and honest and to strive for fairness and equality and respect for all. But these are not always easy things to be / strive for. They can anger some people. Do I actually want him to be quiet and silent and safe instead?

Sadness – obvious utter heartbreak for the husband and kids left behind, but sadness for us as a society too.

This is all in response to the truly shocking news about Jo Cox – however that seems to be just the rancid cherry on top of the cake of shit that the news has been full of in recent weeks. The shooting in the Pulse night club in Orlando and the horrible, bitter, false campaigning for the EU referendum (from both sides) and the rise of Trump and how his awful rhetoric has become mainstream are three of the other more obvious ingredients of this shit cake. I normally try to be quite positive about the news – even in the face of bad news, as usually even if it is terrible it is an ‘incident’, a one-off, no matter how individually horrific or sad. However, at the moment I just can’t be positive about the news.

Right now it feels as if the world is going to hell in a handcart. How do we stop this? Please let the good people win in the end.

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BLDSA’s Colwick Park Swim – Report

A sunny day, happy and successful swimmers, the support of some great volunteers – this swim secretary job is easy isn’t it?

The first swim of the BLDSA season was blessed with glorious weather, which off-set any concerns about the early season cold water and nearly 50 swimmers set off for the 5km swim, including some wetsuit swimmers for the first time.

2016-05-22 10.10.45The great conditions were matched by great swimming. The ladies event saw the top three swimmers separated by less than three minutes – Georgia Amison coming in first a couple minutes ahead of Louise Fielding and Wendy Figures. Thomas Roberts won the gents event, with a battle for second that saw Paul Smith finish just 13 seconds ahead of Andrew Ward, who was also the first wetsuit swimmer home.

Swimmers continued to stream home for the next hour, with excellent performances from everyone.

Then once all the 5km swimmers had completed their swims (and everyone had had their bacon butties) we started the 1km swim.

12 swimmers set off for the 1km and it was a great mix of 5km swimmers wanting to add an extra 1km to their day’s swimming, swimmers looking for a 1km challenge, BLDSA regulars and some first timers to our swims. We even had a team medley happening.

Thomas Roberts was again the first swimmer home to take the gents 1km event, while Nic Court, swimming her first BLDSA event managed to scoop the ladies event and first breaststroker home.

Once again, thanks to all the volunteers and I look forward to seeing you all again next year.

2016-05-22 07.39.09

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