Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Go Now For Good

I think it's my favourite book, Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman that contains the quote "The Scots, forever at war with their mortal enemy: the Scots."

It's quite funny, listening to this awful "Yes/No" debate on the impending Referendum on independence, that history seems to play such a large part in it. Not for the likes of Alex Salmond, but for people interviewed in the media. It seems to me, that everyone interviewed in the "Yes" camp has been watching Braveheart on a loop, for inspiration. The "No" camp seem to focus on how much Scotland has done for British industry and economics, such as the pneumatic tyre, tubular steel, whiskey, and battered everything.

It's a clear division between what people are hearing from two reasoned debates and what they have already made their minds up about. We know Britain is currently shit, Scotland. We can see why you would want out. But who made it shit? Worldwide failed banks and people with imaginary money investing in imaginary funds in largely imaginary places. Not the shipbuilders in Liverpool. Not the shipbuilders on the Clyde. Not the National Park rangers in The Cairngorms. Not the Park rangers in The Peak District.

It might sound by now like I'm saying I don't want Scotland to become independent. What I actually want is for the people of Scotland to do what they genuinely think is best for Scotland in the future. To add to the amusement I've felt listening to voters, I've had even more fun listening to the Westminster morons, Cameron, Clegg and Milliband jumping late onto the bandwagon begging for a "No" vote. My particular favourite moment so far was Dave Cameron saying "Don't vote for independence just because you want to stick it to the effing Tories!"

And that was actually what he said. And he has a point: "Sticking it to the Tories" would be brilliant just to see the look on our illegitimate Prime Minister's smug, self-important face.

It might sound now like I'm saying I do want Scotland to become independent. What I actually want is for the people of Scotland to do what they genuinely think is best for Scotland in the future. In the big scheme of things, David Cameron will be soon dead in his grave, and Scotland will still be Scotland, United to a Kingdom or not.

The best thing I've heard so far was a discussion in the street, which I sadly didn't catch all of. It started with a woman saying "Well I just hope they all know what they're doing, because you know they like a drink!" which I initially didn't realise was about this topic until the man replied "I just hope Scotland doesn't become another Ukraine."

That was quite brilliant: on the one hand, we know the Scots are all drunken ginger-haired kilt-wearing caber tossers, but on the other hand, the referendum could result in either civil war with foreign backing or the overthrow of a legitimate government through a military coup (depending on how far back your recollection of the recent history of Ukraine is). Totally plausible.

As far as I'm concerned, I have no opinion on Scottish independence. I'm a Henderson. We're from there. My daughter is a land-owner there. Okay, it's only a square foot of land, but it's land, right, Lady Amelia? I'm very much rooted in what might happen to people, places, and things in the future. While I have a love of history, I'm very keen on using it to avoid repeating old mistakes. As a species we're still not civilised enough to avoid waiting a couple of hundred years for another bout of boundary based bloodshed based on what is essentially What Our Keith Said About Our Dougie At Our Vera's Wedding.

We're a family on the verge of breaking up, and I'm okay with that. You shouldn't stay together for the kids. You shouldn't remain in an abusive relationship. You shouldn't maintain a nuclear fleet that makes you uncomfortable and is pointless. But you should still think about those kids, get some anger management counselling, and ditch the arsenal because sometimes it works in everyone's interests to still remain friends.

Soon, we may no longer be the United Kingdom. But that, to me, doesn't mean we can't be Great Britain. We're still an impressive island even if the people steering it are only in it for the money. Even if Scotland gets independence, the rest of the world are going to think of us as "Britain" for years to come. English people won't be deported from Scotland any more than vice versa. No one's going to be burning Billy Connolly DVDs in the street any more than Burton's strong lager plants will ban exports to Scotia.

I hate Westminster too. As I get older, I'm starting to think maybe it's time I lived in Mercia. It doesn't seem like the Seat of Power does anything for me either. Maybe things were better when this area was called Mercia? Maybe we will find oil in Codnor (Codnor Live Oil?) and rape the landscape there to finance a cry for independence from uncaring, capitalist London? Who knows?

Dear Scotland,

Go now, for good. I don't mean "Go. Now. For good." I mean "Go now: for good." Do the right thing for the good reasons, not the vague, blue-faced bullshit reasons. We know by the bricking-it edicts of our "leaders" that you can survive on your own, but it doesn't mean you have to, or will always be able to. Don't worry about splitting debts. Don't worry about NATO. Don't worry about me not buying any more whiskey.

Just do what is right for the future.

Best wishes,

Ian Henderson


Tuesday, 9 September 2014

5 Reasons Why I Haven't Blogged For Nearly A Year

Hello. It's been a while. In fact it was only a message on Facebook from my good friend Danny that actually made me sit up and say "Wow, you've not posted any crap for almost a whole year!" Hence the blog title.

So why? Why, Ed, why? Here's why.

1: There hasn't been anyone asking "Why haven't you blogged for almost a year?"

This is really selfish and not a little egotistical. When I started writing blogs about 10 years ago I did it because it was essentially an online diary to myself. It was back on MySpace, and in time I ended up with a regular readership of a couple of handsful of people who didn't seem to mind me complaining about work, talking about going for a dump, or trying to set the world to rights. But I enjoyed the limited attention. When I moved to blogging here, it was because MySpace was shit, and linking it to Facebook was better. It seemed easier to have a rant there that became a conversation than to rant and wait for replies to a blog.

2: No one has really pissed me off in the last 12 months.

One of the reasons I blog is as a distraction. It takes my mind off my worries, and is easily done drunk or sober - albeit edited sober. During quite a lot of the time I've been a blogger the world has been a personally shit place because of the threat of redundancy and other daily binds. I've simply not had that sort of bullshit hovering over me for a year or more. I like the people I work for and with, and I have great people around me. Life isn't perfect, but it doesn't have the worrying overtones of doom and fear it has had before. For that I'm grateful, and less likely to be distracted.

3: The world isn't really any shitter than it was a year ago.

I think I've reached the age now where the media just doesn't impact on me. I don't give a shit about "ISIS" because they're just another Taliban. I don't give a shit about Royal babies because some people are lucky enough to have babies every day. Yay them. I'm not the slightest bit bothered about UK politics because I genuinely can't tell the difference between Labour, Liberal, and Conservative. America seems to be sorting itself out. The Middle East is still the Middle East, with Israel still the most incredibly stubborn and cruel faction operating there (which makes me anti-Semitic despite my issue being political not religious) and people still haven't figured out that Iraq isn't really a nation.

4: I haven't had a really good poo lately.

The only really momentous occasion on the fecal front was when Mark Goulding introduced me (by phone, urgently) to the concept of "The Banksy". This is a poo that slides out, leaves an impression on the porcelain, and then disappears. That was singularly the best expression of a poo type I had heard in a long time. Other than that, I can't think of any reason to bring poo up. No, not like that. I've not been eating poo.

5: No desire to complain.

I have it pretty good, don't I? I have great family and friends, I love my job, and I don't have a serious illness or any immediate sign that my old mental health issues are rearing their ugly heads again. I could go into great and extended detail about the troubles experienced in the last 11 months and more, but you know what? It's all come good. But then that's the trouble with me: I'm half optimist and half pessimist. It makes the status of a metaphorical glass very difficult to decide.

On the one hand I try top be positive about everything, but on the other hand I spend time judging worst case scenarios. It's no bad thing. When the woman you love announces she has cancer, worst case scenarios - carefully considered - make you think "Let her be the blogger" and you find yourself reading her heartfelt outpourings and hugging her tight at the end of it. When you find yourself wondering what the future may hold, it's become easier to actually deal with what the future may hold than to write a blog that suddenly just doesn't seem that important, even though once it was a great way to vent frustration and find an aside to the daily grind.

All that said, it's something I've always enjoyed doing. I might even keep doing it. Not annually though. Maybe just when a cowpat looks like David Cameron, or I think about what it would be like to wake up mid-air, clutching a tiger wearing a parachute. That was a recent dream.

I've never really bitten a tiger. But I would, if I needed a parachute.