I was forced into retirement by ill-health several years ago and it turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me. A move from the suburbs of London to the rural West Country has proved a massive bonus. I now look after my health fairly well but not obsessively.
Soon after retirement, I discovered the stock-market. An exciting hobby (it’s like being at the races all day and every day) it has meant that, instead of simply getting by financially, I can also indulge in some of the pleasures of life.
A reflective sort of chap, my political outlook was jaundiced when I was still a teenager. I went (in idealistic mode) to join the local Labour Party and they tried to initiate me into their gerrymandering ways (i.e. ensuring that council houses are built to destabilise safe conservative wards). I was so shocked by this cynical approach to the electorate that I have never felt able to vote.
Now that I have both time and inclination, I thought I would share my reflections on the political landscape. It is not the details of policy that interest me so much, but the way in which democracy works – or more precisely does not work.
Since I started to plan this blog, several friends have told me that I am prejudiced against politicians; that many go into parliament with the best of intentions, hoping to make the world a better place. Their subtext is that politicians only turn bad when they are buffeted by the whirlwind of politics (because few of my critics deny that most politicians end badly). But I remain sceptical. Even if I give them the benefit of the doubt, I still think we need a constitution that saves these noble and self-sacrificing political creatures from themselves.
My wife (who is prejudiced) says that I have a talent for illuminating things from an oblique angle. If so, then I should like to shed some light on what I see as a deteriorating political scene.
The plan is to post a series of essays and reviews once a week. I hope you will find them interesting and perhaps provocative. My intention is not to annoy or even to criticise (though sometimes that is inevitable) but to give pause for thought.