This Blog is a space for thought. And links to more interesting content.

It’s about life, love and politics. (That’s a love of books, film and music).

But, more than anything I am a father of 2 young children, and a concerned citizen of the world.

I was Agent for the Forest of Dean Constituency Labour Party in the 2015 General Election and lead the local manifesto team. Now I sit on the Editorial Committee for the Forest of Dean & Wye Valley Clarion magazine.

Although I left the Labour Party in 2017, I expect to support Labour for the foreseeable and, indeed, voted for Corbyn – or rather, his policies – both times.

I am Director of a small software development company based on the Forest of Dean and we provide project & resource costing software to the public sector and beyond. I am driven by creativity and collaborative working. In 2017 we bought-out the owners of the business and now we – the engines of the business – enjoy the fruits of our own labour. We belong to the Employee Ownership Association alongside the likes of innovative architectural group Arup, the John Lewis Partnership and many more.

Going back a couple of decades, I used to be the Editor of my own litzine in the early 90’s: ‘Beat Surreal’ – you can still find it listed on Zine Wiki. This was influenced by the Beat Generation of writers, and the surrealist circle of the early 20’s. There’s a link between them: the cut-up technique used to great effect by Bowie in the 70’s came from his reading Burroughs who got it from the surrealist cut-up game the ‘Exquisite Corpse’, as well as often surreal imagery and hallucinations (see Ginsberg and his visions of Blake, a pre-cursor to the surrealists). But that was 20 years ago. I haven’t written poetry for a while. I was tutored by Poetry Society-recommended author, Paul Groves and I’ve had work published alongside the likes of Peter Levi.

Around that time I also ran a record store, sang and wrote in a grunge band, and before that lot spent about 6 months in the Paras, leaving that to go and work on a building site. Eventually I went back to college having realised that, actually, my parents weren’t the best career advisors.

In 2015 I went to Berlin to see if there was anything left of the GDR. There wasn’t much.

Prior to my time in Labour, I belonged to the Communist Party of Britain. But was invited to leave. Twice. I still, however, support their brilliant modern programme for socialism in Britain: the British Road to Socialism. In between the CPB and Labour I joined the ANL and then just as I was getting involved in that along came 9/11. Eventually I was nominated Secretary for Forest Stop the War (FSTW), which began in 2002 to halt the war on Iraq. We were officially associated to the national Stop the War campaign. We may have failed but we did run a successful, engaging local campaign and took many coaches full of activists to the February 2003 demonstration, as well as harassed the USAF at Fairford and much more.

After that I tried, and failed, to galvanise local activists across the spectrum to put aside our differences and unite in action. The Forest Action Network was simply a database and news service for all local groups, with the aim of sharing and adding resource and numbers to each others’ campaigns in hope of greater impact in those campaigns. It turns out that, mostly, campaigners are quite sectarian about their groups and affiliations. Or it could be, many of us were just burnt-out from the long and exhausting anti-war campaign.

So, I increased my activity in Amnesty International, eventually becoming the co-ordinator for Israel and Palestine for the Forest of Dean & Monmouth branches. Not an easy task for a rural group.

Meanwhile, my time in FSTW had introduced me to both The Forest & Wye Valley Clarion magazine and Forest of Dean Radio. I joined an ended up on the management committee as well as hosting various shows, including Get Up Stand Up! which sought to be the mouthpiece for the Forest Action Network idea, as well as playing some killer tunes. Forest activist, Socialist Party member and Greenham/Miner’s Striker veteran, Diana Gash joined me.

At Forest of Dean Radio I got to interview the likes of George Monbiot as well as the golden era of rally stars, including Tommi Makinen when he was competing against Colin McRae. Rallying used to be a favourite sport of mine, but I think the championship has lost its way and have, thanks to my son, returned to football and remain a lifelong supporter of Liverpool and Newport County.

Eventually, parenthood became my focus and political activism took a back-seat for a few years. I even stopped going to the brilliant Tintern Pub Philosophy Circle (and it now clashes with Ultimate!)

But the belonging and desire to make the world a better, fairer place has never left me. What I have achieved at work with employee ownership is a natural expression of that, as is the years I spent in Labour.

I joined S.T.A.N.D. (Severnside Together Against Nuclear Development) and have been a member of CND longer than any other political or activist group.

Today, I play in Dean Ultimate – our local Ultimate Frisbee team, as a beginner, and I’m also an FA Wales-accredited coach currently working with the u12 ‘Greens’ squad at Chepstow Garden City Green & Blacks JFC. That fulfils a lifelong desire to teach.

I spend quite a lot of my limited thinking time pondering whether an enlightened life can be attained through practical philosophy and by applying some of the principles behind Systems Thinking, Motivational Interviewing, the Ethical Circle and other techniques to one’s domestic life and citizenry…if I had the time…

Perhaps if I listed my interests it might give you a feel for the kinda content you can expect. So here goes.

  • philosophy
  • avoiding nuclear war
  • atheism
  • the Labour Party
  • Dr. Edward Wilson
  • modern British Communism
  • politics
  • football
  • the Beat Generation
  • photography
  • the GDR
  • nostalgia
  • ethical living
  • Ultimate
  • personal archiving
  • parenting
  • music
  • the written word
  • art, architecture and photography
  • film
  • ideas
  • atheism
  • tv
  • evolutionary psychology
  • and people

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