Saturday, 12 January 2008

With an innate interest in modern languages, and an avid interest in foreign currency markets, I was beginning to have several ideas as to where my future lie, firstly in freelance interpreting or secondly in international banking. However it was considered that I had not done sufficiently well in my exams to pursue either of these lines, so in 1980, having left school, I entered college to pursue a BEC National Diploma in Business Studies with Travel and Tourism option. This not only gave me the opportunity to pursure further studies in the French language, which I'd begun at school, but also to take up Italian also. I revelled in it. By virtue of studying the travel and tourism option, which I hadn't even considered, having been weak in geography at school, this gave me the opportunity to also pursue my interest in the foreign currency markets.

Much was happening on the Political front nationally around this time, and coincidentally my own views were being modified too as I was beginning to think for myself. 18 months into their governance, and what were Thatcher and co. doing to help me?? I was making my way in spite of them. Keith Joseph may have come from, I think I'm correct in saying, the CBI, but what did he know about real people, particularly teenagers just starting out in life, on the ground. Mrs Thatcher was definitely making her mark on the world stage, but she was too close, in my opinion, to Reagan. Geoffrey Howe was a commendable Chancellor of the Exchequer and one had to also have respect for Lord Carrington at The Foreign Office. He was a natural diplomat.

However my life and views seemed to change in one fell swoop by four very single minded intellectuals, who saw a gap in the political spectrum for the birth of a fourth major political force in Britain. Roy Jenkins, Dr David Owen MP, Shirley Williams MP and last but not least, collectively known as 'The Gang of Four' brought a new vision to Britain which to me was like a breath of fresh air, and, ultimately, life changing.

Monday, 7 January 2008

Well, 1979 came, by which time I was starting to form my own strong political views, either despite of, or in spite of, the then Labour Government holding power nationally, or in spite of the Conservative grandees holding power locally. Then in May that year, as though the writing wasn't already on the wall, in came Mrs Thatcher and co. I remember taking my French O' level oral exam on the day the General Election was held. What I'd have given to have been in France that day, out of the way of all the hoohah. I had no firm intentions or plans as to my future once I'd left school. Should I go on to college? Should I enter the employment market immediately. Unemployment rates were running high and youth opportunities schemes were being created left, right and centre, with many entering short term schemes of 6 months guaranteed employment with little prospect other than returning to the dole queues at the end. What choice for enthusiastic 18 year old with no experience of the job market? Hobson's choice. All these youth opportunities schemes did were disguise the true abysmal figures.

Welcome to my world.

Welcome to my world. A new year, a new day, a new name to blogging as this is my first faltering attempt, although I've been telling myself for some time that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. How great this technology is. Who would have believed 46 years ago, before I'd quite breathed my first breath, that today I'd be able to communicate with the world from the comfort of my arm chair? I hope the communication isn't all one way, however. I hope you, my reading public, are going to communicate back and let me know what you think, tell me where I'm going wrong, or maybe, hopefully what I'm doing right, let me know whether you agree with what I say, but don't be afraid to speak up if you don't. Whether you vote Tory, Labour, Lib Dem, or even if you don't vote at all, everyone has a view they're entitled to express, and I firmly believe you don't get anywhere unless you stand up and be counted.

I often ask myself are ones political views innate or is it really possible to change your colours in mid life? You might have your own ideas. Don't be afraid to let me know. I don't mind telling you that my home life in my younger years, plus my educational establishment were very strict Conservative, from as early as I can remember, when Sir Edward Heath was Prime Minister from 1970-74, and even through the Labour years of Wilson and Callaghan 1974-79. Could I really escape being a Tory myself? It seemed unlikely; particularly since I was resident in a Tory stronghold constituency of Richmond in North Yorkshire, where Sir Timothy Kitson had a huge political majority.