Tuesday, January 02, 2007

My seven top things of 2006

Norfolk Blogger wants to know the seven things that tickled my fancy most in 2006.

I could easily just list seven of the gigs I've been to during the year. For me little beats the excitement and atmosphere of live music.

But I guess Nich is interested in a list of rock bands.

So here goes:

1 More time with the Family. A phrase with connotations for politicians, but I mean it in the positive way it should be meant. As a workaholic by nature I have consciously tried to take more time off to see more of themissus and our three kids. The eldest is not always as keen as she used to be to spend time with her Dad, but the younger two love it.

2 Carry on Camping. As a consequence of 1 I've also had more holidays this year. The best holiday (and the cheapest) was a week's camping at a small family site in Somerset with the younger two. They love camping and we had a great week.

3 For Those About To Rock. An excellent year for rock gigs including the Download Festival headlined by Tool, Metallica and Guns 'N' Roses, Fairport's Cropredy Convention and the returning Monsters of Rock one dayer headlined by the ever brilliant Deep Purple at Milton Keynes Bowl. Other gigs included a fantastic gig by Steve Hogarth on his solo 'h natural' tour, Deep Purple, Porcupine Tree, Muse at Wembley, Iron Maiden at Earls Court and another h gig at Swindon.

4 TV Dinners. There has been a lot of fantastic telly in the last few years - some strong BBC dramas such as Spooks and Life on Mars, the brilliant new Doctor Who and its several spin-offs and the rebirth of American Sci-Fi including Battlestar Gallactica. The onset of digital TV with its tendency for each new show to be given three time slots has made it much easier to follow series properly. (On Demand is even better for this - I'm rewatching series 3 of Spooks while typing this). So after many years on not being able to follow Tv series properly because of working so many evenings I am now able to keep up and, as Christoper Ecclestone's Docor would say - it's Fantastic.

5 Promotion bid. I applied for the vacant Director post in the Campaigns Department and, despite not getting it, found the process of applying, thinking through what I think needs to be done and about what I want to do, very positive. The feedback I received was very positive and I am looking forward to working with Hilary Stephenson who will be a great Director of the Department whilst, I'm sure, keeping her feet firmly on the campaigning ground.

6 Helping Oxford East Lib Dems. Our candidate in Oxford East is Steve Goddard and you couldn't meet a more genuinly decent chap. Steve reduced the majority of the Blairite former cabinet minister Andrew Smith from more than 10,000 to less than 1,000 votes at the last election. Steve was reselected early in the year and it has been a pleasure working with him to build up the campaign team and win excellent results in the City Council elections. We've just appointed a new team of staff to support local campaigning so we'll have capacity to do even more next year.

7 Book ends. I spend a lot of time on trains and I try and spend as much of it as possible reading books. This year I re-read a large chunk of the Virgin Doctor Who New Adventures series - the books that were published after the good Doctor left our TV screens for a few years - along with books five and six in Stephen King's Dark Tower series and the hilarious Husbands by my good friend from University days, Adele Parks. I also spent a lot of time reading various Dr Seuess and Enid Blyton books to the kids along with the genuinly funny Horrid Henry books. I also read a few of the new Doctor Who books to Jimmy.

So that's it. Except for the films which came eighth. And the blogging.

Looking at the list I probably ought to take up some less sedentary hobbies.

I hope Nich finds this interesting ;-)

Dishonourable honour

It is utterly astounding that John Scarlett, the author of the 'dodgy dossier' that has led to so much death and destruction in Iraq, has received an honour.

I've always been uncomfortable with the idea that senior civil servants are given honours purely for having done their job for many years, while everyone else has to do something over and above the call of duty.

But the idea that someone is honoured who has clearly failed in the single most important task of their career makes a mockery of the whole system.

Every single person who has served in Iraq has a stronger claim on an honour than John Scarlett.