Monthly Archives: April 2013

Happiness

Have you ever heard of Na h-Eileanan Siar? No it’s not that place in The Lord of the Rings where Aragorn does that thing with his sword and every woman in the cinema swoons. What’s that? Yes I suppose that is every place they go to. Well, apparently Na h-Eileanan Siar is a real place, and in the UK no less. It’s an island community in the very north of Scotland and according to a new study it is the happiest place to live.

This confuses me for several reasons. Firstly, it’s in Scotland. What’s that about? How can the happiest place in the country be an area where there is no Conservative presence? What’s worse is that the places that ranked second to fifth are also all in Scotland. I’m noticing a pattern, and it does not make me look very good.

The second reason I’m confused is because I read something a couple of months ago that said Harrogate was the happiest place to live. That was much more to my liking. An upper-middle class area being happy is something I can relate to. Being upper-middle class is awesome. Oh sorry, George says we have to call them ‘strivers’ now. Something about ‘turning the country against poor people.’

Anyway, being the sensitive soul that I am, this has got me reflecting about my own happiness. Am I happy? How does one measure such a thing? Apart from comparing oneself against Nick Clegg (clearly winning there, though I suppose it helps to not have your spirit broken on a daily basis).

I have decided that, in general, I am happy. I have a lovely wife and child, a totally awesome job, I’m ridiculously handsome and I get to watch Game of Thrones whenever I want. I think the only thing that would improve the quality of my life right now is some sort of tasty treat. I’m off to Co-op.

Toodles,

Dave

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Careering

I am told that University is all about employability now. This confuses me. When I was at Oxford my family’s connections meant that my future employment prospects were never in doubt. I was just there for the giggles really. This is apparently no longer the case, and University students are trying ever more ingenious/desperate methods to get one step ahead of the competition.

It has recently and rather alarmingly occurred to me that students are not the only ones who are soon going to be treading the murky waters of unemployment. Let’s think for a second about the 1997 General Election in which the poor Conservative Party lost 178 seats. Most people focus on the statistics and what it meant for the party as a whole (that would be humiliating defeat then). But let’s spare a few moments of thought for those MP’s who suddenly found themselves out of work. Bad times, am I right? Now lets fast forward to 2015. If our current popular streak (jokes) carries on, many of my own MP’s could be out of a job in two years. And at a time when benefits are being cut! Sometimes life just isn’t fair, is it?

Clearly then, MP’s need more real world skills. The problem of course is that most MP’s have never actually worked in the real world. It seems to me, therefore, that Parliament needs to do much more to help us prepare for the moment when we are cast aside by the fickleness of the voting public (that’s right – it’s fickleness, not genuine anger).

I’ve decided some sort of placement scheme is the best solution. After all we can’t all just get amazing jobs in New York like David Miliband. Anyway, who better to test such a scheme than I? After all, I have no real life experience to speak of. However almost instantly I’ve run into a key difficulty. You see when I actually applied for a placement the strangest thing happened – I was only offered unpaid internships! Unpaid? What total bollocks is this? So I did a bit of research and it turns out that unpaid internships are actually pretty common! Who knew?  Apparently even the intern who writes my ‘motivational phrase of the day’ is unpaid. But he does such great work! (Today’s phrase: ‘It’s ok because you only left your child in a pub that one time.’)

I raised this with a paid adviser and they told me that this issue was actually debated in Parliament only six weeks ago. Slightly awkward. Apparently not many people showed up. Even more awkward. However, let’s think positive. With major changes such as this, it’s often good to run a pilot first. In the case of scrapping unpaid internships, it seems to me that trialling it on MP’s is as good a place to start as any. It’s a public service really.

I’m suddenly feeling much more optimistic about the future, despite the General Election looming ever nearer. Maybe I’ll become a dancer. That’s always been the dream really.

Dave

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The End Is Nigh. Sort of.

I’m feeling philosophical. Before you roll your eyes and start boredom eating (I’m assuming it’s not just me who does that), let me explain. I’ve been thinking about endings. There have been several different endings in the last month or so, which is ironic because I’m pretty sure spring is meant to be about, you know, beginnings and stuff.

Firstly David Miliband has ended his political career. I’m pretty glad to be honest. He may well be the better half of the Miliband clan, and so having him step out of politics can only be a good thing for the Conservative Party (and myself). Plus he has the same name as me, and that is just not on. The only problem is that he’s going abroad to do charity work. This sounds suspiciously like a gap year. I fear that once he has ‘found himself’ he might look to return to Parliament older and wiser, sort of like going to University a couple of years later and being instantly attractive to everyone you meet.

The second ending is the death of Margaret Thatcher. Her passing has resulted in an outpouring of emotion about her premiership. From lovely (“an extraordinary woman”) to rather hurtful (“the wicked witch is dead”) to somewhat oblivious (“my thoughts go out to Iron Man”), the full range of views has been represented. It’s been an awkward time for me. On the one hand, I’m obviously gutted. She’s like the mother I never had (don’t tell my mum I said that). On the other, it’s been sort of difficult to actually do any work for the last few weeks (so nothing new there then lololol).

Finally I’ve been contemplating the end of the world, for the simple fact that North Korea is just mental. People keep saying nothing’s going to happen but the reality is no one really knows because it is just SO mental. It’s like something out of a film. Next thing you know we’ll have journalists using students as a cover to get into the country, or something crazy like that. What’s that? Oh. That already happened. See? Everything’s mental.

 A combination of all these things, plus Brian Cox talking about cool ‘big picture’ stuff, has got me thinking about the fleetingness of life. I’ve decided to create a bucket list. Or as I’ve seen it called elsewhere a ‘Fuck It’ list. My list is stuff I want to do before I finish as Prime Minister (which depressingly, could be not long now). However, I’m struggling to come up with ideas at the moment. I just kept thinking of stuff I’ve already done and adding ‘whilst naked’ to it (e.g. do Prime Ministers Question Time whilst naked, dine with the Obama’s whilst naked). I don’t think I’ve quite got the hang of it yet.

Anyway, that’s enough philosophical self-indulgency for the time being. I’m off to prepare for some meetings. Whilst naked.

Dave

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Petition Imposition

I’ve claimed to hate a lot of things since starting this diary. Indeed, I wasn’t aware I hated quite so much stuff until I started writing it down. But I really do! I should probably see someone about it.

Regardless of any future therapy I may or may not need and/or receive I have discovered another thing that I really rather despise. That would be petitions. Petitions are the WORST. They allow thousands of people to express their support for something before going back to doing whatever it was they were doing, all the while feeling rather smug that they’ve in some way made a difference without actually having done much at all.

The problem (for people like me) is that it can actually make a difference. As long as there is a system in place to utilise this support, lots of people doing something extremely small can create what I believe they call a ‘movement’ and these are often a massive pain in the bum.

I realise the cause of this sudden hatred is fairly transparent. The petition asking Iain Duncan Smith, my lovely/foolish Work and Pensions Secretary to live on £53 a week is causing me no end of issues. I mean obviously IDS (yes I call him that – we’re not close) should have known better than to say he could do it in the first place. I mean come on – politicians aren’t actually meant to make promises like that! But who new some random bloke setting up a petition asking him to prove it could get 500,000 signatures! Awkward.

I’m going to choose to ignore what that support actually means about people’s opinion of my government (ignorance is bliss) and use this as further justification for my on-going hatred of the internet. The web makes things like 500,000 signing a petition far more achievable through the phenomenon that is (say it through gritted teeth) ‘social media’.

Perhaps this irrational hatred stems from the fact that I only have 456 Facebook friends compared to Boris’s 652. Or perhaps it’s because every moment since George Osbourne joined twitter has been a moment lived in fear of what he might tweet. Or perhaps it’s that the internet gives anybody with access to a computer opportunity to express their thoughts through the medium of ‘blogging.’ I mean who are these ‘bloggers’ and what right do they have to express their opinion? Apart from living in a democracy, obviously.

I’ll stop before my rant moves into dangerous ‘democracy is flawed’ territory. I’ve been advised to limit what I say on this subject. Particularly as I’ve used its flaws on countless occasions to get away with all sorts of things (see: the dismantling of the NHS).

Right I’m off to watch Doctor Who on iPlayer. I suppose the internet has some perks and being able to watch Matt Smith fight people wearing alien masks is definitely one of them. Maybe I’ll start wearing a bow tie. Bow ties are cool, apparently.

Dave

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